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meadowrun
7th Aug 2016, 13:38
Every once in awhile they trot out another doom doc about these nasty things. If you think "volcano", there are no good associations except for some pretty photos sometimes. When you think "Super volcano", there are no good thoughts.


There are a few around the world including the one in Yellowstone and they all erupt some time or another. Some are overdue. It is said that if the Yellowstone one goes off the dust and particulate matter would rise to 25 miles and fairly quickly cover the USA and then most of the rest of the world, blocking out sunshine and bringing crop production to a grinding halt for a serious amount of time.


So the question is: Given all our expertise in drilling to extract various items under pressure way down deep, on land, off-shore, deep sea, by various techniques including straight down drills, fracking, directional drilling.... Why, given the Doomsday possibilities, are we not making a concerted effort to relieve and manage the pressures building in said super volcanos or regular volcanos for that matter?

G-CPTN
7th Aug 2016, 13:51
On my first visit to Vesuvius I enquired which of the surrounding peaks was the cone of the 79AD eruption, only to be told that the surrounding peaks marked the outer rim of the eruption.

419
7th Aug 2016, 14:35
So the question is: Given all our expertise in drilling to extract various items under pressure way down deep, on land, off-shore, deep sea, by various techniques including straight down drills, fracking, directional drilling.... Why, given the Doomsday possibilities, are we not making a concerted effort to relieve and manage the pressures building in said super volcanos or regular volcanos for that matter?

We still don't have the ability to dig deep enough to be of any use in doing what you suggest.
The deepest that man has ever managed to drill is about 7 1/2 miles and this is still at least 5 miles less than would be needed to reach the magma chamber at Yellowstone.
Also, the diameter of the 7 1/2 mile hole is only 9", something that would make zero difference to the pressure and quantity of magma in any super volcano.

lomapaseo
7th Aug 2016, 14:53
Why, given the Doomsday possibilities, are we not making a concerted effort to relieve and manage the pressures building in said super volcanos or regular volcanos for that matter?

Would you really want to prick a balloon filled with a fart?

meadowrun
7th Aug 2016, 14:55
So, five miles further to go and wider drill bits. Add multiple drill sites. Maybe just enough pressure could be relieved to prevent an explosion?
Given that we're playing a crap game with these things and the possible extinction of the human race, is this not within our capabilities with science, effort and money?


Would you really want to prick a balloon filled with a fart?


Yellowstone already vents watery farts like clockwork. We do know something about pressure vessels and release valves, right?

G-CPTN
7th Aug 2016, 15:18
Apart from the apparent difficulty of reaching the depth (and width) necessary to 'relieve' the pressure, can you imagine what the resulting 'relief' would be?

Would the roughnecks and roustabouts survive?

419
7th Aug 2016, 15:24
So, five miles further to go and wider drill bits. Add multiple drill sites. Maybe just enough pressure could be relieved to prevent an explosion?
The problem is, nobody knows exactly what pressure is down there and when you consider that there are two interconnected chambers below Yellowstone, one containing an estimated 10,000 cubic km of magma and the deeper one containing 48,000 cubic km, do you really think it wise to try to drill into these not knowing if the hole could be capped once opened?

sitigeltfel
7th Aug 2016, 15:47
Scientists are split on whether the Yellowstone Caldera is overdue to blow, or if it ever will do so again.
One thing they agree on though, if it does, its Goodnight Vienna!

G-CPTN
7th Aug 2016, 16:18
If you look at the history of Vesuvius,

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Vesuvius#Eruptions

there were minor eruptions (and at least three significantly larger ones) before the well-known big one in 79AD, and only lesser ones since (and none since 1944 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bsmv6PyKs0)) so, who says that Yellowstone would be a biggie?

(apart from the spacing of the eruptions - 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 630,000 years ago)

clark y
7th Aug 2016, 16:36
Yellowstone is only one of many around the planet. Have a look at Sinabung which puffs away regularly on Sumatra and note it's location to Toba. Google/Wikpedia it. At the end of the day Mother Nature does not discriminate.

pattern_is_full
7th Aug 2016, 18:12
One does have to have a clear picture of the scale involved.

Human capabilities to relieve the pressures under a supervolcano through drilling equate roughly to what one mosquito proboscis could do to relieve the pressures growing inside a rotting whale carcass.

I suppose a well-placed subterranean nuclear explosion might produce enough cracking to have some effect. But it is the relative strength, weight and integrity of the rock overburden that is holding the volcanic explosion at bay right now.

You have a hot-water heater with a stuck relief valve, and no way to turn off the fire. Will a pinprick help? No. Will hitting the heater with a sledgehammer work? Maybe - but then again, it may simply trigger the explosion you are trying to prevent.

Or - in an aircraft analogy - sticking a spike through the skin of an overpressurizing fuselage may relieve the pressure. Or it might result in Aloha 243, whose explosive decompression originated from one small joint crack.

Another reality: There's no reliable estimate on the price of the Kola Deep Borehole (it was a Soviet project), but the "lesser" KTB bore in Germany, only to the depth of Everest, cost 450 million DM over 15 years (probably at least 2 billion dollars in today's money). On the "mosquito/whale" assumption that we need at least 500 bores to appreciably relieve the pressure under Yellowstone - that's $1,000,000,000,000 at a bare minimum - to still not get deep enough. You'd probably actually need to add another "000" to that, to reach the magma.

Drilling is one of those projects where the costs go up exponentially with the distance drilled.

Hempy
7th Aug 2016, 18:20
Driving a bore hole into a few cubic kilometres of molten rock under high pressure. What could possibly go wrong??

Cazalet33
7th Aug 2016, 18:38
Just shake a bottle fizz and draw the cork to see the reaction if you drill too large a hole into the magma chamber of one of those biggies. Better still, take a look at the videos of fairly ordinary blowouts through simple 9&5/8ths casing and multiply the energy released a quadrillion-fold.

Can you imagine the litigation if some eejit were set off the Yellowstone caldera prematurely?

Can you imagine what a bampot like The Fart in the White House would do to Mexico or Saudi or North Korea in relation?

G-CPTN
7th Aug 2016, 20:10
Kola Superdeep Borehole drilling was stopped in 1992 @ 12,000 metres because of higher-than-expected temperatures at this depth and location, 180 C (356 F) instead of expected 100 C (212 F).
With the projected further increase in temperature with increasing depth, drilling to the target depth of 15,000 m (49,000 ft) would have meant working at a temperature of 300 C (570 F), where the drill bit would no longer work.

tony draper
7th Aug 2016, 20:46
If the core and the mantle weren't still active we wouldn't be here,this place would look like Mars.:uhoh:
There's a human timescale and a geological one,never the twain shall meet.
There was a sci fi, story by Arthur C Clarke
re drilling a very deep hole they had to fill the hole with mercury so the pressure didn't collapse the hole and squish the drill bit to atoms.

llondel
7th Aug 2016, 21:28
What makes the super volcanoes so dangerous is the dissolved gases. As mentioned by Cazalet33, it's like a shaken bottle of fizz - the slightest attempt to relieve the pressure causes the dissolved gas to come out of solution and build up even more pressure, resulting in the event which is funny if it happens to someone else while you're safely out of range. It's why champagne sprays everywhere.

Far better to play the odds and note that it might not happen in our lifetimes. If future generations want to poke it then they're welcome to do so when we've gone, and they might have better technology and possibly a more pressing need to try to reduce the possible effects.

er340790
7th Aug 2016, 22:27
A while back the US Geol Survey / Parks Service decided to ascertain what would be the early warning signs that Yellowstone could be building up to blow again. Their list of likely warning signs read:

Boiling mud-pools.

Steam vents.

Geysers.

Earthquakes.

Ground upheavals.

Poisonous gas releases.

Does any of that sound familiar????? :eek:

It would certainly be a bad day for N. America. There are some interesting fall-out plotters on line. Depending upon the prevailing wind at the time of eruption, we could see 25-cms of ash hereabouts. (It'd be one hell of a potato crop though!!! ;))

vapilot2004
7th Aug 2016, 22:40
Given all our expertise in drilling to extract various items under pressure way down deep, on land, off-shore, deep sea, by various techniques including straight down drills, fracking, directional drilling.... Why, given the Doomsday possibilities, are we not making a concerted effort to relieve and manage the pressures building in said super volcanos or regular volcanos for that matter?

No real money in it?

ZOOKER
7th Aug 2016, 22:48
The magnitude of the forces involved make it highly unlikely that any attempt would achieve anything.
There was a suggestion a while back that injecting water along The San Andreas Fault would lessen the chance of a major earthquake.
By the same token, there is no doubt that climate change is real, as modern human have evolved during an interglacial. It is unlikely that anything we do will reverse or slow the process though.
But hey, the last one is a neat excuse to tax people.

Loose rivets
7th Aug 2016, 23:50
I was routinely flying back from Paris in the night in 1980. Some nights the sky to the west looked very ominous and we certainly couldn't see past the UK. There was a lot of stuff airborne for a long time after that.

G-CPTN
7th Aug 2016, 23:54
I was routinely flying back from Paris in the night in 1980. Some nights the sky to the west looked very ominous and we certainly couldn't see past the UK. There was a lot of stuff airborne for a long time after that.
I don't entirely follow your suggestion (in fact I have no idea to what you are referring).


Smog?

vapilot2004
8th Aug 2016, 00:20
Mt Saint Helens blew her top that year.

G-CPTN
8th Aug 2016, 10:23
Ah - thanks!

ORAC
8th Aug 2016, 11:24
er340790,

I wouldn't be so sure about a number potato crop. These were the results of a couple of - relatively - minor eruptions...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laki

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/apr/15/iceland-volcano-weather-french-revolution

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer

Of course if it was a major eruption, similar that which Yellowstone could produce, you could end up with a load of rock next door......

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deccan_Traps

http://www.science-story.com/images/map-of-india-with-deccan-traps-color-large.jpg

Fareastdriver
9th Aug 2016, 10:42
You have a hot-water heater with a stuck relief valve, and no way to turn off the fire. Will a pinprick help?

Turn the hot tap on.

pattern_is_full
9th Aug 2016, 20:06
OK FED - that's a gotcha! ;)

Where's the tap on the Yellowstone Caldera?

419
9th Aug 2016, 20:40
You have a hot-water heater with a stuck relief valve, and no way to turn off the fire. Will a pinprick help?

Turn the hot tap on.

And if the pressure, temperature and quantity of hot water coming out of the tap makes it impossible to turn off again until the reservoir is empty, what then?

ZOOKER
9th Aug 2016, 20:46
ORAC,
Many thanks for the links......Some fascinating stuff there.

EGQL,
When Laki erupted in 1783, the deposits have been found as far afield as Iraq. There is a theory that the effects in Europe may have had a part to play in triggering The French Revolution?

G-CPTN
9th Aug 2016, 20:52
When Laki erupted in 1783, the deposits have been found as far afield as Iraq. There is a theory that the effects in Europe may have had a part to play in triggering The French Revolution?
I bet that screwed up the airline schedules! :E

ZOOKER
9th Aug 2016, 21:07
G-CPTN,
I did Geology and Physical geography at Nottingham Uni' and then joined NATS as an ATCO.

It all came together nicely in 2010 when I was on a morning duty at EGPX. I was living in a hotel, in fact, the one opposite the 18th at Royal Troon. I wasn't watching the TV news at the time, but I went to work for what was expected to be a normal morning-duty. During the night, Eyjafjallajokull had stoked-up and I remember walking into the ops-room, at 0600UTC and seeing colleagues who should have been staring intently at radar-screens, sitting back, chatting to each other. As someone posted on the NATS intranet shortly after our leisurely 'Full Scottish' breakfast........

"ASH THURSDAY?".

I still have pictures I took of the radar displays........Totally bizarre.

Fareastdriver
9th Aug 2016, 21:10
And if the pressure, temperature and quantity of hot water coming out of the tap makes it impossible to turn off again until the reservoir is empty, what then?
You turn on the tap; the boiling hot water comes out and is replaced in the tank by cold water. That will work its way down to the tap then you turn it off and sort out the heater.

ZOOKER
9th Aug 2016, 21:21
There's a very good book, called 'Eruptions That Shook The World', by Clive Oppenheimer.

If you only ever buy one book on volcanic eruptions, this is a belter.

Hempy
10th Aug 2016, 10:39
If a really big one went off it would have a massive effect on global aviation. Reminds me of BAW9 and the Galunggung Gliding Club. Their story of flying the ILS without a glide slope and no forward visibility thanks to the sand blasted windscreens with a Captain coming off near hypoxia with a broken O2 hose is harrowing enough. That crew did a great job.

WhatsaLizad?
10th Aug 2016, 13:31
The suggestion by the OP reminds me of the elephant keeper "helping" his constipated charge a few years ago.


When the pressure barrier was removed by the keeper, he was buried and suffocated by several hundred pounds of elephant waste that was violently ejected out the aft end.

meadowrun
10th Aug 2016, 13:38
Moral to that is to not stand there staring down the aft end orifice.


And the alternative is for said elephant to explode with even more force and resultant debris.

IFMU
10th Aug 2016, 15:06
Rather than putting our efforts into relieving super volcano pressure, we should be working on fleeing the planet. That would also cover us for asteroids and other disasters.

megan
10th Aug 2016, 15:07
Captain coming off near hypoxia with a broken O2 hoseT'was the co-pilot when at 26,000, and he managed to fix the problem at 20,000, so no hypoxia.

Hempy
10th Aug 2016, 16:02
I stand corrected on that, it was the f/o. But 2 or 3 minutes above 20,000 is well enough time to be 'near' hypoxic. There was the King-air accident around Alice where everyone fell asleep at FL200 due to hypoxia and just kept flying til it ran out of fuel.

megan
10th Aug 2016, 19:11
The Captain popped the speedbrakes when the O2 issue arose and was coming down at 7 to 8,000 FPM. Brakes retracted at 20K when the co-pilot fixed the problem. Don't forget the F-18 that crashed up near Weipa following fuel starvation after pilot lost consciousness. Took three years to find.

fleigle
11th Aug 2016, 01:50
Something that may interest you all.
Cochise College P (http://skywalker.cochise.edu/wellerr/students/wheeler/project.htm)
The southwest US is a great place to view Geology.
f

Sallyann1234
11th Aug 2016, 09:51
Thanks fleigle. That is fascinating. And slightly frightening.
If a similar event happened now anywhere on the planet it would be the end of our comfortable little civilised lives.

fleigle
11th Aug 2016, 15:07
Well it would certainly thin out the population a bit Sallyann..
:E
f

david1300
12th Aug 2016, 13:13
I don't entirely follow your suggestion (in fact I have no idea to what you are referring).


Smog?

I had the same issue. I sometimes fear from Mr Rivets recent hard-to-follow posts that rather more rivets are becoming unattached every passing day :confused::)