So much for that idea
This should put paid to any sort of foolishness about an anthrocentric universe. Quite the contrary, Earth itself is just waiting to kill us.
European scientists think they've found the trigger mechanism for the eruption of supervolcanoes, the most violent and dangerous natural disasters on Earth. magma Earth's forever blowing bubbles Unlike traditional volcanoes, which are easily identifiable by their mountainous shape, supervolcanoes lurk far underneath the …
The Earth is not "waiting to kill humanity"
Your daft idea itself suggests an Anthropocentric Earth. The Earth couldn't "careless" whether humanity exists or not... it will just go blindly on. If coincidentally a supervolcano erupts, then humans may die, but the earth is not gunning for this to happen.
Dr Malfait said that overpressure in the magma chamber would cause the ground above to rise "hundreds of metres" in advance of the eruption proper. Now I'm no geologist, but that kind of change in topology would hint to me that something funny was going on. Of course, I'm sure there's some sound journalistic reason for your having said there would be "no warning" in spite of the above.
Source: BBC News
"... cause the ground above to rise "hundreds of metres" in advance of the eruption"
Right. So you see this big bulge which says that there'll be a supervolcano there in 1000 years or so. What next? (I mean seriously, not unreasonable dreams like living on Mars.) I think there might be a bit of social breakdown.
> I think there might be a bit of social breakdown.
I don't think so. We have been living with nukes on hairtrigger alert since the 50's. Even in 2014 "liburl" presidents are throwing 100 billion dollars that they don't have into a "refresher project". No-one gives a f*ck.
"Rising a hundred metres over what time?"
When Mount St Helens erupted in 1980 it had developed a 'bulge' of around 150m, which had been recorded as growing at a rate of upto 2m per day. I'm guessing a supervolcano would probably feel the need to prove it's superiority to a regular volcano by growing a lot quicker - it's got to justify that 'super' title!
Now I'm no geologist, but that kind of change in topology would hint to me that something funny was going on.
And ... what?
1. Discover supervolcano is about to explode in next N units-of-your-choice
These things severely alter conditions on the entire planet for several years. The ash bed from the last VEI 7 event at Yellowstone covered more than half of the contiguous USA, and Yellowstone and other supervolcanoes have produced VEI 8 events as well as 7s. Where are you going to emigrate to? How long will it take you to get ready? How many people can your plan accommodate.
Here's what'll happen when the next supervolcano goes: Most people on Earth will die. Whether they know it's coming won't make a damn bit of difference to the survival rate.
Once every 100,000 years, or so. Don't worry, we have a long time to wait for the next one. Very funny, I wish probabilities actually worked that way. By that logic since the Yellowstone hot spot erupted 650,000 years ago on a 650,000 cycle, run, it due to happen tomorrow! A die doesn't always come up a 6 every 6 rolls. Plus there are many things that can happen to disrupt a natural cycle. But don't worry anyway, not much we can do about it if one of the twenty blows tomorrow.
Have an upvote for getting there before me.
One thing though, why limit it to one, why not have a few pop their corks at once (geologically speaking)? Could be an extinction event for us if a few went.
Paris, as statistically speaking I should be shagging her next week.
Ummm, yes and no.
First, I upvoted you, because you make a generally very valid point. But an individual volcano's activity is not like a dice's, where each event is independent of the next.
My area has magnitude 9 earthquakes about every 500 years, with a wide variation around that average. Last was in 1700. Since subduction earthquakes are about stress relief, pops will happen when enough stress has built up over time. It probably won't happen just 50 years after a quake. Nor will it likely wait for 5000.
Throwing 20 supervolcanoes with gradual magma buildup cycles in the mix does validate your argument quite a bit as their activity is not linked and their eruption cycles have different periods. So the result is likely to be a lot more random than if we looked at just one volcano.
Oddly the article illustrates your point quite nicely if unintentionally.
The Lake Toba supervolcano in Indonesia erupted around 74,000 years ago...
the Oruanui eruption, blew off just 26,500 years ago
So it's good within an order of magmatude. Don't suppose the coat would help much if one goes off.
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"The article did mention that the one in Indonesia exploded 74,000 years ago, and another 26,000 years ago, so that sound like a 48-50 thousand year occurrence to me, so we should expect one sometime in the next 24,000 years."
That logic relies on the assumption that they occur on a regular basis, and aren't following another pattern. It would be interesting to find out when the erruption previous to the one in Indonesia occurred - it that was around 150,000 years ago, we could conclude that the period between erruptions decreases by around 25,000 years after each event... and we are therefore already overdue for the next one!
So, it could be any day now? Bring it on... at least then I won't have to listen to everyone whining about their New Years diets any more! ;)
So perhaps if we can fracture (frack) enough of a layer of the Earth's crust, we could enable the Yellowstone super volcano to let go its pressure before it blows. Fracking could go down in geological history as the best thing humans ever did.
FTFY. By judicious drilling, you might be able to create a volcano 10km from a city, rather than risk it blowing at a random outlet in the area. I don't know if the technology exists (yet) to create a vent-hole to that depth, but you might be able to get some payback from geothermal energy. Gotta be better than waiting & hoping...
Ground zero at the fracture site ------>
10km from a supervolcano is nowhere near safe. Consider "Lahars from Mount Rainier can travel for tens of miles along river valleys and reach Puget Sound." Mount Rainier is just a run-of-the-mill volcano. http://geology.com/usgs/rainier/
Or Mount Saint Helens: "The May 18, 1980 blast devastated 596 square kilometers". Note that a 10km radius circle only has an area of 314 square kilometers.
Maybe some trillionaires in combination will concoct a plan to vent it into the sea, or via an umbilical into the sky... Maybe a magnetic constrictor coil, surrounded by a high-flux, magneton-polerized, tetrion-augmented poleron array can direct it above the Aurora Borealis...
But, first, we'll need to construct a Dyson Sphere to contain the energy to redirect it back into the Meson Grid....
LaForge!!!! Enough! Another time, perhaps...
Like peeling the skin off of a bad blister or boil? Or letting an "Eartheurism"?
Hahaha, warning of a 100 meters bulge across a month allows some basic planning? Would not that be about 3 meters a day? 27' a day in SF or SJ or LA would spell disaster. After just 5 days, the streets would be too steep for safe vehicular negotiation, meaning most sites of import would need helicopters or super-suped up moving vans or tractor rigs on ever-standby, meaning looting, riots, violence, pilfering, and more, on a glacial 30-day spread, even slower than the Earth-busting in that movie, what, 2012?, if I recall.
If it 300 meters in over a month, then roughly 30 meters a day? 100' a day? Scary indeed.
"But there's no need to panic just yet – as far as the scientist can tell the Earth suffers a supervolcano blast roughly every 100,000 years or so and the last one, the Oruanui eruption, blew off just 26,500 years ago"
I think I should introduce you to my friend Andrey. Andrey Markov that is. He had a few words to say about processes like this. Logic such as the above only works in movies.
As to "without warning" you do need to remember you are talking to geologists, and they tend to think in slightly different time scales to the rest of us.
"As to "without warning" you do need to remember you are talking to geologists, and they tend to think in slightly different time scales to the rest of us."
Not all. Remember, volcanologists think in both long and extremely short timescales.
If they see the earth bulging up tens of meters, they think in extremely short timescales. And rapidly depart the area.
Earth has over 2 million cubic miles of fissionable Uranium and Thorium which decay at variable rates due to cosmic particle bombardments. By-products of this fission process are enormous amounts of heat, causing expansion and 'elemental' atoms which occupy more space than the parent atoms, causing pressure. Most likely, it is a clusters of fissionable material reaching critical mass and a rapid decay process causing eruptions. One 'elemental' atom is Radon, which is Inert, forming NO compounds and having a half life of 3.8 days. See "Unified Earth Science Theory" at Canada Free Press, May 2010 and the Geo-nuclear tab at Faux Science Slayer site.
BTW...changes in the Earth's fission rate set the base line temperature for 'climate' change....
Are you absolutely sure your handle shouldn't be 'Faux Science Sayer', because what you just wrote was a fair example of pseudoscientific gibberish.
Whilst it is well accepted that the Earth's internal heat comes from radioactive decay, there's no 'critical mass' going on - most of the radioactive elements in question are well diluted in the large mass of metal that makes up the Earth's core, which is mostly iron and nickel, the heat from their decay being conducted/convected to the mantle. Even if the decay products are gaseous, single atoms of these these will still remain well dissolved in the outer core, or form atomic inclusions in the inner core.
Also, it is worth noting that the volume you quote for the amount of fissionable material is tiny compared to the erth's volume of 260 billion cubic miles, representing 1 part in 130,000, and that the half-lives of uranium 235 and thorium are 700 million years and 14 billion years respectively.
"...Lake Toba supervolcano in Indonesia erupted around 74,000 years ago..."
"...Earth suffers a supervolcano blast roughly every 100,000 years..."
"...the last one, the Oruanui eruption, blew off just 26,500 years ago..."
Either my maths is really, _really_ broken or the article is suffering from some internal consistency problems. A bit like the magma really.
No consistency problems. Erruptions of different supervolcanoes are not correlated. Erruption times of a single supervolcano are vaguely cyclical, but not anything like clockwork. So the earth has had two go pop in the last 100K years, and may have none go pop in the next 100K years, averaging out as one every 100K years.
In reality (a) you'd have to average over a few Myears to get meaningful statistics, and (b) the Yellowstone supervolcano is likely to go pop in the geological near future. (Say in the next 100k years with probability 0.7 or higher).
Two supervolcano eruptions in the last 75,000 years is not inconsistent with a supervolcano blast every 100,000 years assuming that such events are random in nature, The wording of the article in this respect is rather unfortunate in that it rather implies some regularity and might have been better expressed as a probability of 1 in 100,000 of a supervolcano eruption in any one year.
If such events can be treated as purely random, then it would follow a Poisson distribution and it would therefore be expected that there will be some periods when there are more frequent occurrences than the long run average (and some periods when there will be fewer). Of course, the likelihood is that it's not completely random as, presumably, an eruption in one place might well release pressure elsewhere, but it's even less likely that there is some sort of global clock which dictates the timing of such events at regular intervals.
Nb. the article also implies that the eruptions are on some sort of timetable, albeit in some apparently (weak) jocular sense about the time we have to colonise other planets.
If any other countries follow Italy's lead, I can't think of a job any school leaver would want less after Italy locked up 6 scientists working in this area for not predicting a quake. So maybe when it happens there'll be no chance of any warning at all because there will be no-one willing to go to jail while learning to get whatever predictions can be done in this space right.
Definitely no joke. I'd be planning to relocate as soon as reasonably possible. Vesuvius errupts far more often than supervolcanoes. If you leave relocation until there's smoke coming out of the volcano, it may be too late to get yourself (and the entire population of Naples) safely out of town.
A group of people used to working with fluids at high temperatures and insane pressures, with no human interaction physically possible within kilometers of the worksite. World experts in materials science AND geology/geophysical processes working together.
Oh, that's right. The Offshore Oil industry- of which the UK is the world leader- deals with all this as a matter of routine. Just convince the operators that they can make billions of dollars (maybe selling access to controlled-magma-release wellheads to geothermal power companies) and they'll have the pilot wells ready in a year or two.
...European scientists think they've found the trigger mechanism for the eruption of supervolcanoes, the most violent and dangerous natural disasters on Earth...
What I want to know is:
1 - How can I tax people and get them to change their behaviour to minimise the chance of this happening?
2 - How can I show that the Koch brothers are funding a hidden multi-billion fund for supervolcano denial?
3 - How can I use this as a justification for a holiday trip for me and my mates to somewhere exotic?
Doesn't necessarily follow. Humans then were few in number and occupied a mainly hunter/gatherer ecological niche not dependent on any modern technology. Although there are still peoples like that today and they, too, are few in number, habitat destruction means that they might run out of food pretty quickly.
This does all rather tend to validate the old maxim that in the long run we are all dead. Perhaps I'm going to have to give Lewis Page a free pass on his views on global warming, on the basis that in a timescale similar to the current one for homo sapiens sapiens, it isn't going to matter who was right.
Actually it's conceptually easy to trigger a supervolcano erruption. Drill down as far as you can, maybe 500m above the magma, then put a "Tsar Bomba" hundred-megatonne nuke at the bottom and similar nukes every 500m or so all the way to the top, and blow them all at once. Fortunately, I don't think even the leadership of North Korea is quite that crazy. (Scarily, ISTR that there is a supervolcano reservoir inside North Korea's borders).
Who's going to start a book on whether it's Jellystone or Naples that blows first?
US scientists once said "any time in the next 3 to 3000 years..." might seem a long time to you and I, but that's a sniff in Mother Earth's existence.
Naples - well, "expect an event within decades".
With the decimation to the population that one of these babies going up could cause, who's going to pay the AGW taxes then? I mean, the Carbon Footprint from Yellowstone would be [Jeremy Clarkson voice] absolutely HUGE [/Jeremy Clarkson voice].
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ok, that last paragraph doesn't make me feel better. It says we see one every 100,000 years or so, but just earlier in the article they sited the Indonesia eruption was 74,000 years ago and then that the last one happened 26,000 years ago. Well, that sounds like at best they happen every 50,000 years or so and we're on the latter half of waiting for the next one.
Who wants to bet Yosemite will be the next one? <shivers>
Is it just me or does "Project Farcast" aka humanity's first Alcubierre warp driven starship actually have a chance, if for example NASA builds it at the ISS and the US throws Manhattan+Apollo-project level resources at it?
I tried to tell them how to built it years ago but for some reason they aren't replying to my emails.
Maybe its time to rack it up a notch and build a prototype, have most of the parts but no funding.
Thats what you call a Kickstarter methinks, with all the fuss about Mars no-one has considered using all that otherwise useless plutonium to make antimatter onboard to fuel the drive, and HTSCs with the correct geometry and composition for the field coils and drive core.
BTEDan has the right idea, but he needs to be concentrating on the most effective power source for the available weight, not how to make it safer.
90% chance of success with a 2% chance of a catastrophic failure is acceptable, with enough containment his idea of just ejecting the malfunctioning nuclear core would work just fine as long as it has several of them in different places on the ship.
Asteroid is approaching Earth. Size is estimated to be small enough to not destroy more than one continent. General panick subsides after location is determined - evacuation of continent taking place. Amid many social issues caused by the most massive migration ever, the asteroid hits Earth and buries itself in a supervolcano - triggering its eruption.
Question : which actor will be the plucky scientist realizing what will happen and finding a way to use duct tape to build an Unobtanium protection sphere, thereby saving humanity ?
why not drill in from the side to relatively slowly vent the gases, something like a aluminum oxide lined tube to allow magma and gas to drain out removing the explosive potential. In the worst case it will at least allow you to aim the explosion away from populated area and ideally into the sea