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Airbrush

Yellowstone, the Ultimate Energy Source

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What if there was a way to tap into the magma at Yellowstone as an unlimited source of energy for the entire North American continent? Is there a way to "disarm" Yellowstone to release the inexorable energy build-up, and use the energy at the same time? What I envision, if possible, is a way to allow Yellowstone to "let off steam" at a steady rate so it won't explode, and use the energy to generate electricity for the USA? :rolleyes:

 

It would require a lot of exploration and testing to find a safe way to tap into Yellowstone. A series of either small nuclear or conventional explosives could open a passageway for the magma and allow a giant magma gyser on the surface where it could be used to power steam turbines. But they better be careful or they could accidentally trigger the Big Eruption, and game over.

Edited by Airbrush

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Create artificial tubes to regulate pressure. also at the same time build a network of pipes/tanks around that tunnel/tube to heat water and use it to generate steam for turbines?? excess material gets transported away into some abandoned open mine - to fill it? etc.

 

Or even use it to supply hot water to consumers?

 

Releasing pressure at constant rate cant create a Big Yellowstone Bang - it would need pressure to build up first.

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Releasing pressure at constant rate cant create a Big Yellowstone Bang - it would need pressure to build up first.

 

actually, it can. by releasing the pressure you can cause part of the caldera to collapse violently which send a massive pressure wave into the magma chamber causing another part of the caldera to erupt which could set the whole thing off.

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actually, it can. by releasing the pressure you can cause part of the caldera to collapse violently which send a massive pressure wave into the magma chamber causing another part of the caldera to erupt which could set the whole thing off.

 

Releasing too much pressure could cause areas to collapse. So they need to regulate the pressure over many square miles to keep it optimal according to any buildup of pressure. Excess pressure gets released and used to generate electricity. Maybe there is a way to do phased caldera collapses, so the entire supervolcano does not go off, only little sections. When Yellowstone explodes it will destroy a large portion of the USA and start a nuclear winter. We want to prevent an explosion.

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When Yellowstone explodes it will destroy a large portion of the USA and start a nuclear winter. We want to prevent an explosion.

 

Try mass extinction and nuclear winter(s) for the next few decades. The ash thrown into the air will envelope the planet, blocking out sunlight, killing plants, then animals, then us. Looking back in the past 2.1 million years, three major Yellowstone eruptions occurred, both an 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). Let's try smaller volcanoes before moving on to supervolcanoes.

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Anyone has actually any idea what type of volcano is it?

nuclear winter wont happen most likely. Super eruption, id say. Most of magma chamber gets emptied fast causing caldera to collapse into empty chamber, not that much ash... but well USA gets a lot of beating + massive tremors that you can feel pretty much everywhere + might trigger more eruptions elsewhere.

 

You dont really need to remove any magma to relieve pressure, its dissolved gas that might form bubbles - and hot gas bubbles want to get out.

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Try mass extinction and nuclear winter(s) for the next few decades. The ash thrown into the air will envelope the planet, blocking out sunlight, killing plants, then animals, then us. Looking back in the past 2.1 million years, three major Yellowstone eruptions occurred, both an 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). Let's try smaller volcanoes before moving on to supervolcanoes.

 

Yellowstone is 40,000 years overdue. It must go off again within, what?, about another few tens of thousands of years, or it can start going off next year! Is there any defense against a supervolcano? All I can think of is allowing it to release pressure so the BIG eruption won't happen. The theory is to extend the amount of time over which the inevitable eruption occurs. It could be something like a mega-gyser of magma that blasts half a mile high over a period of months, and covers the Yellowstone state park area with mega-ash, but in so doing saves humanity from near-extinction. Losing a beautiful state park is a small price to pay for the survival of humanity.

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volcanoes don't work on a schedule like the busses you know.its not 'overdue' its just the next one hasn't happened yet.

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Yes that is true, but another eruption is inevitable. Geologic records show they happen periodically, not as regular as buses, but on the average every 600,000 years. The hot spot has migrated because of the motion of the North American plate. Now it is building up steam under Yellowstone. A History Channel special about it says the ground is rising at an accelerating rate.

Edited by Airbrush

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Interesting. I think it is important for us to research ways to prevent/mitigate catastrophes such as these. I now see there may be a way to stop a super-volcano (like Yellowstone) from going off.

 

In another post it was discussed how to stop world-wide destruction from an asteroid impact ( http://www.scienceforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=38915&highlight=asteroid ) but until now I did not think such was possible for supervolcanos. And we could get cheap energy as a bonus!

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The question is how fast can we progress at investigating smaller volcanos first, as a poster above proposed? They would need to practice ways of blasting huge tunnels, using both conventional and small nuclear explosives, in small volcanos to let magma flow into a safe area which would be totally covered by volcanic material. But they need to be ever mindful of the fact they could accidentally trigger a disaster!

 

If we don't do anything, then when the day comes, either next year or after another ten thousand years, Yellowstone WILL go off big time, and the USA will be laid to waste and a long-term nuclear winter WILL cause mass extinctions, maybe even humans.


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I'm no geologist, but it seems to me it could be possible to dig giant tunnels into small volcanos to create a pressure valve. Whenever magma builds up the volcano will erupt, but in a controlled fashion. It would look like a giant gyser of magma that periodically blasts like a cannon shot out of an artificial volcanic crater, whenever the pressure goes up.

 

There would be heat energy collection stations all around the magma pile that would turn steam turbines, generating clean electricity. :rolleyes:

Edited by Airbrush

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The thing is, yellowstone is unlikely to erupt anytime soon. Monkeying with it is probably more likely to trigger it than sitting around a couple hundred years studying smaller volcanoes. I do like the idea of getting geothermal energy from it though.

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It's like fighting fire with fire. You intentionally cause a dormant volcano to erupt by digging tunnels into the magma chamber, so it will let off pressure and not explode. This is done by a series of explosions burrowing down creating a magma channel.

 

All the while some master the fine art of digging tunnels others are studying the composition and formation of our greatest challenge for survival, Yellowstone. Detailed maps must be created to know precisely where and how to tunnel. Yet they must first be sure they won't accidentally set off the Big eruption. That is our ultimate challenge. ;)

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