A NASA plan to stop the Yellowstone supervolcano from erupting, could actually cause it to blow… triggering a nuclear winter that would wipe out humanity.
Yellowstone currently leaks about 60 to 70 percent of its heat into the atmosphere through stream water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks, while the rest of the heat builds up as magma and dissolves into volatile gasses. The heat and pressure will reach the threshold, meaning an explosion is inevitable. When NASA scientists considered the fact that a super volcano’s eruption would plunge the earth into a volcanic winter, destroying most sources of food, starvation would then become a real possibility. Food reserves would only last about 74 days, according to the UN, after an eruption of a super volcano, like that under Yellowstone. And they have devised a risky plan that could end up blowing up in their faces. Literally.
Wilcox hypothesized that if enough heat was removed, and the temperature of the super volcano dropped, it would never erupt. But he wants to see a 35% decrease in temperature, and how to achieve that, is incredibly risky. One possibility is to simply increase the amount of water in the supervolcano. As it turns to steam. the water would release the heat into the atmosphere, making global warming alarmists tremble.
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Via : risingbd.com
Risingbd Desk: A NASA scientist has spoken out about the true threat of supervolcanoes and the risky methods that could be used to prevent a devastating eruption.
Brian Wilcox, a former member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense, shared a report on the natural hazard that hadn't been seen outside of the agency until now.
He spoke of the true devastation that could come from an eruption, and the 'risky' methods that the agency is considering for preventing one – including approaches that could potentially go array and set off a supervolcano accidentally.
One such plan would involve drilling into the bottom of the Yellowstone volcano, using high pressure water to release heat from the magma chamber.
'I was a member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense which studied ways for NASA to defend the planet from asteroids and comets,' Brian Wilcox, now at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology, told BBC.
'I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.'
Earth has around 20 known supervolcanoes, which are simply unusually large volcanoes that have the potential to produce an eruption with major effects on the global climate and ecosystem.
A supervolcanic eruption could be a single short-term event or a long-term massive lava flow lasting up to millions of years.
Major eruptions occur every 100,000 years, with the last major known one being in New Zealand 26,500 years ago.
Such an eruption today could cause a prolonged nuclear winter and global starvation – the United Nations estimated that food reserves worldwide would only enable humans to survive for 74 days.
NASA is weighing methods to prevent a supervolcanic eruption, but the proposed tactics would be difficult to convince politicians of and are extremely risky – some could even wind up accidentally triggering the eruption they are trying to prevent.
One of the most dangerous supervolcanoes is beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, where pressure is building in an enormous magma chamber, causing hotspots.
Yellowstone currently leaks about 60 to 70 percent of its heat into atmosphere via water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks, while the rest builds up as magma and dissolves into volatile gasses.
The heat and pressure will reach the threshold, meaning an explosion is inevitable.
NASA has considered that if it could cool down Yellowstone – which is essentially a giant heat generator equal to six industrial power plants – by 35 per cent, it would no longer pose a threat.
But the proposed tactics seem impractical and dangerous, if not impossible.
One already defunct idea was to use water to cool down the supervolcano.
Building a big aqueduct uphill into a mountainous region would be both costly and difficult, and people don't want their water spent that way,' Wilcox said.
'People are desperate for water all over the world and so a major infrastructure project, where the only way the water is used is to cool down a supervolcano, would be very controversial.'
But since it would be nearly impossible to convince policymakers of such a plan, NASA has since considered drilling up to 10km down into the supervolcano to pump down water at high pressure.
The circulating water would return at a temperature of around 662 F (350 C) and slowly extract heat from the bubbling pressure cooked beneath the National Park's surface.
Despite the fact that the mission would cost $3.46 billion, NASA considers it 'the most viable solution.'
Using the heat as a resource also poses an opportunity to pay for plan.
'Through drilling in this way, it could be used to create a geothermal plant, which generates electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10/kWh,' Wilcox said.
'You would have to give the geothermal companies incentives to drill somewhat deeper and use hotter water than they usually would, but you would pay back your initial investment, and get electricity which can power the surrounding area for a period of potentially tens of thousands of years.'
'And the long-term benefit is that you prevent a future supervolcano eruption which would devastate humanity.'
But this method of subduing a supervolcano may be too good to be true – it has the potential to backfire and trigger the supervolcanic eruption NASA is trying to prevent.
'If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky,' Wilcox said.
'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.'Carefully drilling from the lower sides, however, could work.
'This way you're preventing the heat coming up from below from ever reaching the top of the chamber which is where the real threat arises,' Wilcox says.
Even besides the potential devastating risks, the plan to cool Yellowstone with drilling is not simple.
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The cooling of Yellowstone in this manner would also take tens of thousands of years, but it is a plan that scientists at NASA are considering for every super volcano on earth.
“When people first considered the idea of defending the Earth from an asteroid impact, they reacted in a similar way to the supervolcano threat,” Wilcox says.
“People thought, ‘As puny as we are, how can humans possibly prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth.’ Well, it turns out if you engineer something which pushes very slightly for a very long time, you can make the asteroid miss the Earth. So the problem turns out to be easier than people think. In both cases it requires the scientific community to invest brain power and you have to start early. But Yellowstone explodes roughly every 600,000 years, and it is about 600,000 years since it last exploded, which should cause us to sit up and take notice.”
So what would happen?
Some Things To Do in the Event of Volcanic Ash that May Help You Survive
As was indicated earlier, if you're within 100 kilometers of the supervolcano, you're in big trouble. However, there are some precautions one can take in the event of dealing with volcanic ash, and these really start with having the appropriate supplies on hand.
Beforehand a Supervolcano Erupts, You Should Have
Extra dust masks.
Goggles (to protect your eyes from ash).
Non-perishable food to last several days or even weeks.
Drinking water to last several days.
Plastic wrap (for electronics).
First aid kit and medications.
Radio and extra batteries.
Flashlights and extra batteries.
Wood for a fireplace or stove.
Extra Blankets, cold weather sleeping gear, and warm clothing.
Extra-large (wide and long), heavy duty tarps for covering your home and vehicles from ash coming down.
Cash (forget credit cards and ATM's in this situation)
Pet food and supplies
Two-way radios with extra batteries (don't depend on cell phone networks working for very long during a time of catastrophic disaster).
Plans and maps for evacuation to a distant region of the country or even to the Southern Hemisphere. An eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano is a major event and a vast amount of people in North America are likely to die. Surviving such an extreme event calls for extreme steps — such as journeying by foot, horse, or boat to lands in the Southern Hemisphere which scientists say will be least effected by an eruption of this magnitude.
Boat moored on the coast with extra fuel (not everyone owns a boat, but if you live near the East or West Coast a boat fully stocked with supplies can help you get several miles away and out of immediate danger).
- Follow the evacuation order issued by authorities.
- Avoid areas downwind and river valleys downstream of the volcano.
If caught indoors:
- Close all windows, doors, and dampers.
- Put all machinery inside a garage or barn.
- Bring animals and livestock into closed shelters
If trapped outdoors:
- Seek shelter indoors.
- If caught in a rockfall, roll into a ball to protect your head.
- If caught near a stream, be aware of mudflows. Move upslope, especially if you hear the roar of a mudflow.
Protect yourself during ashfall:
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Use goggles to protect your eyes.
- Use a dust mask or hold a damp cloth over your face to help breathing.
- Keep car or truck engines off.
Stay out of the area defined as a restricted zone by government officials.
- Effects of a volcanic eruption can be experienced many miles from a volcano. Mudflows and flash flooding, wildland fires, and even deadly hot ashflow can reach you even if you cannot see the volcano during an eruption. Avoid river valleys and low lying areas. Trying to watch an erupting volcano up close is a deadly idea.
If you see the water level of a stream begin to rise, quickly move to high ground. If a mudflow is approaching or passes a bridge, stay away from the bridge.
- Mudflows are powerful "rivers" of mud that can move 20 to 40 miles-per-hour. Hot ash or lava from a volcanic eruption can rapidly melt snow and ice at the summit of a volcano. The melt water quickly mixes with falling ash, with soil cover on lower slopes, and with debris in its path. This turbulent mixture is dangerous in stream channels and can travel more than 50 miles away from a volcano. Also intense rainfall can erode fresh volcanic deposits to form large mudflows.
Disaster preparation has received a lot of attention in the recent past. In fact, people who live in every corner of the world prepare for various disasters such as famine and war. Some of them even prepare for Yellowstone . It is always better to prepare to face disasters as they can hit us at unexpected times. However, it should be done according to a plan. That’s where The Lost Ways comes into play. This guide follows a scientific approach to help people prepare for disasters. In fact, it would let people know about the secret methods followed by the ancestors to survive disasters. They include a variety of disasters such as droughts, diseases, financial crisis, wars, famines and everything else life threw at them. For More Information about The Lost Ways Survival Guide Click Here