Yellowstone super volcano.

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Will Sheephogan, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. Norman Atta Boy Registered Senior Member

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    If it were not for the supervolcanos blowing their top off every few hundred thousand years and bringing on near exinction events as Toba did 74,000 years ago, the world population would probably be even much greater than it is today.....Thank god for supervolcanos........

    Atta Boy
     
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  3. DangerousDave Registered Member

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    While watching Discovery channel about Yellowstone's Supervolcanos I wondered if anyone has thought of tapping the resources of the magma below. To relieve the pressure thus preventing a natural disaster. the concept i have is to tap into the magma using a drilling technique that builds a shaft down to the magma chamber using the shaft and its pressure to pump magma to the surface preventing a catastrophe before it happens then pouring the molten rock into forms for building or whatever one desired and the heat and pressure used from the lava to power the machinery needed for the job?
     
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  5. Maddad Time is a Weighty Problem Registered Senior Member

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    There's an incredible amount of materials released in a supervolcano. The magma disolves 200 times its volume in gasses. Since the magma chamber is about 70 x 30 x 10 kilometers, that's about 20,000 cubic kilometers of magma and 4 million cubic kilometers of disolved gas. Only perhaps a quarter of that is molten, and when the volcano erupts, about a tenth will be thrown out of the caldera. Still, this is a thousand cubic kilometers of material being ejected initially under 3,000 PSI. There is no structure that man is capable of making that could contain such an event.

    As for the time-table, a good guess is sometime in the next 100,000 years. Speaking about the next 50 years is total guessing. We just don't know.
     
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  7. Maddad Time is a Weighty Problem Registered Senior Member

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    I was interested in this some time back. I was worried that tapping into the magma chamber would cause the walls of the tube to melt, widening it, and increasing the gas flow. The more hot gasses that flowed out, the more the widening. It might cause the very explosion that I was trying to avert by alieving pressure.

    Some other studies though indicated that the problem would actually be the opposite. The tube would fill in with material sticking to the sides.

    Another difficulty is the amount of gas that you would have to release to do any good. You would have to release a good percentage of the 4 million cubic kilometers of disoved gasses. This would affect global climate and health and so be a political target. Drilling enough wells to release that much gas, even over decades, would be an expensive project which would suffer budget cuts. One benefit that might help to sell the idea is that it would provide more than the world's current energy needs.
     
  8. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    As someone employed in the drilling industry I can only applaud this excellent idea as a gauruntee of my employment till beyond retirement age. And if it doesn't work, but produces the explosion it is meant to avert, that's OK too, since I live in Europe.

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  9. becky Registered Member

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    does anything you all write have anything to do with the pacific ring of fire? i guess they dont so i am not all that interesting all these are INTERESTING but i really want to know more about the pacific ring of fire. reason being i am working on a project.
     
  10. river-wind Valued Senior Member

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    well, the whole point of a super volcano is that they don't erupt like regular volcanos. There is a tremendous amount of pressure involved, which causes gasses to remain in solution. when the super volcano explodes, it does so because the pressure drops, millions of bublbes form, and the volume of the magma pillow increases so quickly that magma and rock and everything else get tossed into the air.

    Trying to "tap" the magma pillow now would reduce the pressure, and trigger the explosion, as all the gas came out of solution at once.
     
  11. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    Let's think continent-wide champagne fizz... I'm sure a few million genuine corks would be popped at the same time as the supervolcano going off, with all those Americans hosting End-of-the-World parties.

    @Norman: if the Toba eruption hadn't decimated the early human race 74000 years ago, humans might have established settled agricultural societies in the previous interglacial, and eventually undergone an industrial revolution over 50 millennia ago... by today, we would be a galaxy-spanning elder civilisation of unimaginable power and infinte wisdom.

    Supervolcanoes may have a lot to answer for.
     
  12. telosian Registered Member

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    Really? I'm sure you want to be standing on a superV rim when it pops.......
     
  13. Xylene Valued Senior Member

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    Unimaginable power, almost certainly--great wisdom? Well, I'm a bit dubious about that where Humans are concerned. Forgive my cynicism.

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  14. jennyRater Luck B me 2nite Registered Senior Member

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    You should check out the "people suck" thread -
    http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=34081

    The idea of civilisation starting 50000 years earlier could make a hell of an alternate history epic - but perhaps SO alternate that no one would relate to it much, any more than to fantasy.
     
  15. Toesupwa Registered Member

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    You folks just dont get the implications of this do you?.

    When (notice i said 'when' and not 'if') Yellowstone blows its top, you can kiss everything you know now as 'normal' goodbye, no electricity (yup, no PC's either) no fuel, no food, no water, no AC, no gas..nothing...and dont expect FEMA to come running to help, cos they are gonna be too busy trying to survive themselves!.
    You CANNOT expect any government to help in such an event, and to suggest that you could build bunkers and store enough food is absolutley rediculous!... you are a country of over 200 million people, if 10% (i guess it would be a LOT more than that) were affected by an 'event' such as Yellowstone, thats 20 million people!. Where do you suggest you store all that food, water?..not to mention toilet facilities!!.

    When it does go (or we get struck by a comet) then its every man, woman and child for themselves... Sorry to be so blunt, but thats the reality!.
    Perhaps when you are sitting there in the dark, choking to death, with ash falling all around you, you might remember exactly how childish some of the comments on this thread have been.

    Yeah, i am in the UK..but am soon to move to the US!...
     
  16. Maddad Time is a Weighty Problem Registered Senior Member

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    The population of the USA is more like 300 million. Since a Yellowstone eruption will blanket the food growing belt of the country, all of them are going to be affected, not just 10%. The issue of course will be how much they will be affected, but I would wager that starvation and loss of infrastructure would bring our population at least down to the number you gave us. Scary thought, isn't it?
     
  17. jennyRater Luck B me 2nite Registered Senior Member

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    we'll all just panic buy 1000s of our infamous hotdogs, burgers, twinkies, buritos, Buds and Coca cola until all the stores are empty, hide them in cellars + garages, family members will take turns to guard their homes 24-7 against looters (I mean, we are all gun-crazy gangsta wannabes in America, thats what the rest of you seem to think..).

    at least some of us will have enough food to last until the sky clears and a new lot of corn pushes up through all that ash.
     
  18. john smith Tongue in cheek Registered Senior Member

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    :bugeye: you mean your not 'all gun-crazy gangsta wannabes in America'?thats new news to me!!

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    :m:
     
  19. jennyRater Luck B me 2nite Registered Senior Member

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    If we are, we can at least point our guns at people who deserv it now + again! If Yellowstone does go boom, our tough gangsta atitude will keep us alive - enough of us anyhow.
     
  20. dinokg Registered Senior Member

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    If and when the yellowstone supervolcano blows it will be a tad different then in the past. The impact all depends on the timing of the eruption and also the corresponding technological level of the entire human species as well as regional effects as well. In the past it took the human species down to a newly estimated population of about 2,000.

    Currently it would also have a major impact, but with a current population of well over 6 billion there would most likely be many more than 2,000 survivors. Also country wise the USA would take the greatest blow due to it being the country of origin to the eruption, but also many people in the USA have at least the remains of old bomb shelters(built in the cold war and more recently from the whole Y2K thing, both of which luckly never happened) that may be useful to hide in. Actually many countrys may have some bomb shelters besides the US theres Russia, Britian, France, Germany, Spain, and many others that might have some got spots to whether out such extreme disasters.

    In the future supervolcanoes should cause less problems for people as a hole. Especially when people get established off planet. But as long as people are on earth they will need to watch yellowstone and other supervolcanoes, and prepare as best as they can for the eventual eruptions.
     
  21. Starthane Xyzth returns occasionally... Valued Senior Member

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    You don't say! But the number of humans alive today would also make a supervolcanic holocaust that much more tragic, since the number who die will also be considerably higher than it was 74,000 years ago...
     
  22. blobrana Registered Senior Member

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  23. ShadowMaster Registered Member

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    Meh. The apocalypse will come when it will. We all die anyway. What's the point about worrying about death if it always waits behind the next door? Stressing over it won't help. If it blows and we die tomorrow, oh well. I'll be proven wrong in my thinking that it won't happen in my lifetime. But I won't care because I'm going to die eventually anyway. So will you. Screw it. If we can't do anything about it why should we care? We can't prevent nature.

    And wouldn't drilling just create a crack and a huge blast from the volcano, if it's got as much pressure as you think it does? Think about shaking up a soda can and shooting it with a .45. I don't think it would help, but that's just me. Go ahead, prove me wrong. I'll laugh when I see it actually done.
     

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