There are six known supervolcanoes in the world. Yellowstone National Park is arguably number one in this category. It’s the largest active volcano in the world and sits on a vast subterranean chamber of molten rock and gasses.
NASA has revealed its plans to save the world from it’s future eruption which . . . take a deep breath . . . could devastate the human race. The reason for the devastation is that the huge spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight. (It’s tough to grow food without sunlight.) Call it a “nuclear winter” that would threaten ALL life on the surface of the earth.
The Yellowstone volcano is very big and very hot. It’s 50 miles long, 12 miles wide with a 1500F chamber of molten rock beneath the surface that is seven miles deep. Around 60 to 70 per cent of the heat generated by Yellowstone seeps into the atmosphere, but the remainder builds up inside and, if enough builds up, an eruption is triggered.
The solution to keeping it from erupting revolves around the idea of stealing the volcano’s heat. And that’s the procedure NASA scientists and engineers are developing to save the world.
Their plan is to drill a 6-mile hole into the side of the volcano and pump high-pressure water in it which will allow the cool liquid to absorb some of the heat. When the water comes back out, it’ll be heated to over 600 degrees, slowing cooling the volcano. Then, it’s pumped out again.
The team hopes that with enough time, the process will take enough heat from the volcano to prevent it from blowing mankind to kingdom come.
The stats are alarming. Yellowstone’s volcano erupts about 600,000 years. It’s about that amount of time since the last one erupted. That means it could erupt any day now. Not all scientist agree there’s an immediate threat of an eruption. So it’s a matter of who to believe.
“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” according to Brian Wilcox, a researcher NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.. “If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber which would otherwise not be released.”
But the NASA scientists working on the project are convinced that Yellowstone poses enough of a threat that they are willing to risk setting off an eruption.
The space agency has a $3.5 billion budget to protect America and nearby nations from a catastrophic Yellowstone eruption. I think the money is warranted to save the planet.