Volcanistical

Supervolcano Yellowstone: Possible solution

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First off a software program as such to have multiple input capabilities to simulate events that may take place by all known physics and other natural calculations should be developed. With this in mind I am sure we can measure a close approximation of the Yellowstone Caldera, as to calculate an area of appropriate size to release pressure. With this information calculate a sizable underground hole to create. In this hole create a lining of some type to keep the lava there. Also a tunnel system would lead to the ocean with the same lining. This would have the intention of giving the lava a place to release a great deal of pressure and the flow to a point to reach the tunnel to slowly cool into the ocean. Also if deemed a worthwhile prevention in the event of failure and catastrophic explosion, maybe a tremdous dome of reinforced metal could be put over the area and greatly weighted down with huge metal structures that would be anchored in the ground quite a ways with concrete.

Maybe something in this plan will have value to help construct a resolution.

Thanks for reading

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You should contact Elon Musk. He'd be happy to have a volcanic lair.

 

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You... do understand that "typical" supervolcano eruption throws out multiple cubic kilometers of stupidly hot and pressurised ash and pulverised rock? Cubic kilometers. There is no way we can contain something on such scale anytime soon. We can only get out of the way posthaste.

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Also, more on-topic :

People says "practice makes perfect". So why don't you try with something much, much more smaller, more frequent and much less lethal first ? Hint : the company can't, don't, and won't deal with it. If any of you foreigners is actually interested please come down and try your best or something. Hint : I think they've done some but they also throw hands to the air.

Edited by YNM

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Think positive, treat a problem like a possibility.
If build O'Neil cylinder over the yellow stone, we don't need a launch vehicle to put it to orbit.

Edited by kerbiloid

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Interestingly enough some or most of you failed to understand or reflect on the first statement. Which build a real-time, real-world simulation program. Which could clearly help understand how to go about working on the issue. I'm sure the computer program may cost $20,000.00 at most. Practice in real world situations probably $100,000++ consistently unfeasible. The dome idea was a simple idea of last resort in the case of some pressure release, also caused an explosion of some magnitude. Clearly such a computer program that you design ideal models in a CAD program or similar would be ideal for studying first. Always do find it interesting that a lot of people become quick to judge an idea saying this or that won't work. Yet seem to not offer anything of constructive value. Makes most of the world understand why the human race won't survive. Ignorance is bliss.

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59 minutes ago, Volcanistical said:

Interestingly enough some or most of you failed to understand or reflect on the first statement. Which build a real-time, real-world simulation program. Which could clearly help understand how to go about working on the issue. I'm sure the computer program may cost $20,000.00 at most. Practice in real world situations probably $100,000++ consistently unfeasible. The dome idea was a simple idea of last resort in the case of some pressure release, also caused an explosion of some magnitude. Clearly such a computer program that you design ideal models in a CAD program or similar would be ideal for studying first. Always do find it interesting that a lot of people become quick to judge an idea saying this or that won't work. Yet seem to not offer anything of constructive value. Makes most of the world understand why the human race won't survive. Ignorance is bliss.

Ok, so it would be possible to create a computer simulation of the event. However, because of how complicated this is, you would have do do a Monte Carlo style study, where you simulate it, change the input parameters, simulate again. This way you build up a picture of what the eruption would most likely look like. Unfortunately, because this is an incredibly complex physical event, this will take a supercomputer to calculate, and even with a supercomputer you looking at potentially years to complete the calculations and billions in costs. Of course, this can be done by a government if it funded a research program.

 

The your suggestion about tunnels is interesting, but at this point in time it is unfeasable. It would represent the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by human by maybe 100 times, including the longest, deepest tunnel ever built. Again this would cost billions, maybe even trillions due to the sheer size of this project and take decades to finish. Not impossible, but very unlikely. However, there is currently no scientific understanding on how (or even if) an event like this can be stopped. For all we know, drilling tunnels right up to the magma chamber might trigger the eruption earlier.

 

The dome will never work I'm afraid. There is no way that you can make a dome strong enough to contain such an eruption unless you made entirely in a diamond reinforced carbon nano-tube lattice, and even that would likely not be enough. The eruption is simple so huge that the entire human race doesn't know any material that is even close to being strong enough to contain it.

Edited by Steel

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1 hour ago, Volcanistical said:

Interestingly enough some or most of you failed to understand or reflect on the first statement.

It is not that easy. Some people here have actually studied something or even do something in those fields.

I understand you are neither a geoscientist spp. (here: volcanologist) nor a programmer. I am not a volcanologist but know a little about geoscience, my computer knowledge i more limited.

A simulation program can only work with those parameters that are already known, the others must be guessed. A real time real life simuation is fantasy, as we are not even sure how the chamber under yellowstone is actually fed (see below).

A 3 dimensional idea of how the magma chamber under the caldera looks like actually exist from seismics. There is a controversy if the chamber is fed by a deep (core/mantle border) mantle plume or just a shallow one. I am not specially informed about Yellowstone but some hotspot-feeding plumes actually do go that deep (according to models, which may change as new details come in). You'd have to release a good portion of that plume which might last 20 million years and could cover north America with a trapp basalt :-).

Also you'd only doctor on the symptoms, the overall driving force (plate tectonics and mantle circulation) can't be stopped. Well, when the sun comes here one far day it will :-)

The ocean is too far away for a tunnel, that is not feasible. Digging a tunnel system at the side of the plume sounds a silly idea to me, but again, the specific conditions in that area are not known to me. Differentiation of magma in a chamber leads to changes in chemical composition and viscosity. Changing chemical properties of the lava and collapses will probably plumb the tunnels before much pressure is released. And when the pressure is released, what do you do with the hole from the resulting collapse ?

Publication by the AGU, Nature Geoscience, etc. could shed some light on the conditions around and under Yellowstone.

Anyway, no measures we can take now and during the course of a human life would actually solve your problem of releasing the lava from the chamber under Yellowstone. It'll probably just slowly fill up again.

How pressing is the problem at all ? Is an eruption imminent or to be expected in foreseeable future ?

 

Edit: i missed the dome thing. Here i really think that the forces involved are underestimated. An explosion that blows out km³s of molten rock will handwavy do away with an artificial structure that doesn't collapse under its own weight. Or else the crust is just lifted until the cracks are big enough to release the stuff at the sides. A dome is not a good idea. I'd rather suggest to keep the nature reserve and national park for future generations to visit ;-) Because it is beautiful.

Edited by Green Baron

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1 hour ago, Volcanistical said:

Interestingly enough some or most of you failed to understand or reflect on the first statement.

Interestingly you're neglecting the first basis of any simulation : initial calculation. No matter how grandeur and how amazing and how advanced your simulation will be, it needs initial figures. There are no professional work done from the ground-up with "simulations", like there's nobody designing a real rocket based on what works in KSP with RO/RSS. And I don't know what cunning plan you're having, but as I have said before, they cleanly failed on even the "smallest" one possible (other than the fact nobody is interested in it here I could only presume), how'd they deal with something millions of times the size and everything ?

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1 hour ago, Volcanistical said:

Yet seem to not offer anything of constructive value. Makes most of the world understand why the human race won't survive. Ignorance is bliss.

Firstly, welcome to the forums! And to KSP!

Secondly, it is VERY common, not just on this thread but on every science-discussion forum on the internet, for people with less experience to generate ideas based on faulty assumptions.

It is also very common for these people - because it is not clear to them why their ideas are flawed - to GO TO THE MAT defending them, even in the face of more experienced ideas, and often, even in the face of facts from professionals who work in the field!

This is not a personal dig at you, it is very common, I am sure I have done it before, since not a single one of us is born knowing everything we do today.

So when people shoot your ideas down almost exclusively (and I dont think any of them are being rude about it) it is important that you dont fire back with things like your comments I quoted above. Who does that help? It doesnt help you, and it makes people far less inclined to give you constructive feedback.

***

Quote

t off a software program as such to have multiple input capabilities to simulate events that may take place by all known physics and other natural calculations should be developed. 

What makes you think this is not already done? Secondly, you cannot just place a bunch of sensors down and attach them to an expensive computer, write a quick program to digest it all and suddenly get 100% understanding of what is going on underground. Science is waaaaaay more complicated than that. And nature is waaaaay less cooperative. Sensors suffer from noise, failure, false positives. Software can only be based off our best models, which are approximations, what you are asking may not be possible with todays technology.

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 With this information calculate a sizable underground hole to create. In this hole create a lining of some type to keep the lava there.

The scale of the problem is very, very large indeed. You would be talking of a "hole" measuring kilometres (potentially tens or even hundreds) across and deep, and you want it to be underground. This is orders of magnitude larger than any engineering project ever attempted, and again, is probably not possible with todays technology.

Quote

Maybe a tremdous dome of reinforced metal could be put over the area and greatly weighted down with huge metal structures that would be anchored in the ground quite a ways with concrete.

Whether it is made of metal or weighted down with "structures", to a volcano - let alone a supervolcano - it is nothing compared to the kilometres of crust that is already over it. This would be like trying to stop a bomb going off by wrapping it in tinfoil.

Quote

I'm sure the computer program may cost $20,000.00 at most.

Oh-me-oh-my. This might be the worst error of scale you have commited. We are not talking about a mobile phone app here. In terms of cutting edge research, developing highly advanced software, 20k will get you almost nothing. 

Here in my office we have a program that helps us to write official documents. It cost somewhere in the region of £2million, and it isnt highly experimental, intended to save the world, linked into thousands of advanced sensors etc. etc.

***

It is clear that your ideas are flawed due to a lack of experience in many fields - this is not a fault.

The main disconnect seems to be related to your sense of the scale of the problems. The energy contained in a supervolcano eruption is so far above that which could be contained with a "dome" of any size or material that it boggles the mind. And the cost and effort of executing these proposals is also so far off the charts that I cant even think of an appropriate metaphor.

The fault is insisting that your ideas should not be shot down. This is a science forum, its ok to be wrong.

Edited by p1t1o

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OP, if you are interested in volcanology, here's THE standard book on it. It is sciency but not too much with a lot of informative illustrations, even touching briefly other connecting geoscience fields. I could imagine you will like it, and it contains MUCH more information as you will ever get out of the internet. And it could prepare you to actually understand scientific publications on that.

 

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17 minutes ago, Volcanistical said:

Forget I ever posted. Have a great life or continue to have a great life however you want to put it.

You can lock your thread here:

 

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Okay_meme.jpg

 

...we tried...

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... you could still grab the opportunity and widen your horizon ;-)

The link i posted links to an outdated edition. You should look for the lates edition (2015 i think) if interested, because it IS an interesting field.

Goes to book shelf ... hmm 2010 ... might update as well ...

A pity if you just left frustrated ... it wasn't the best of all starts in this forum, was it ?

 

Edited by Green Baron

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8 hours ago, Volcanistical said:

First off a software program as such to have multiple input capabilities to simulate events that may take place by all known physics and other natural calculations should be developed. With this in mind I am sure we can measure a close approximation of the Yellowstone Caldera, as to calculate an area of appropriate size to release pressure. With this information calculate a sizable underground hole to create. In this hole create a lining of some type to keep the lava there. Also a tunnel system would lead to the ocean with the same lining. This would have the intention of giving the lava a place to release a great deal of pressure and the flow to a point to reach the tunnel to slowly cool into the ocean. Also if deemed a worthwhile prevention in the event of failure and catastrophic explosion, maybe a tremdous dome of reinforced metal could be put over the area and greatly weighted down with huge metal structures that would be anchored in the ground quite a ways with concrete.

Maybe something in this plan will have value to help construct a resolution.

Thanks for reading

Welcome to the forum mate!

After reading all the comments, I suggest you doing a second post, considering the problems and ideas presented here.

Have fun!

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@cratercracker got a good point.

And i have too much time :-)

Consider the following highly abstract thought: the forces right now are in an equilibrium. That includes the pressure from the plume below the chamber, resulting from up-flow, densities, fluid contents (gases or water), temperature etc., the composition and state of differentiation in the chamber, with its liquid or more or less viscous parts and the solved gases and fluids, and the weight of the cover over it. As long as nothing changes that may stay so until the chamber has solidified (10s of millions of years) and/or the supply from the plume decreases.

Now, if we poke into the chamber to release the pressure solved fluids might start to bubble out like a soda bottle that is opened. Also, a partial release of pressure might result in spontaneous melting of formerly low viscous or even solid phases, leading to more bubbling out of gases. That could and will open cracks, allowing the abundant ground water to come in. You might (and probably will actually in the case of Yellowstone) end up with a disastrous outcome, destroying part of a continent instead of trying to save the world.

I do not pretend that the above is correct, but i ask to take into consideration the work others have done on volcanism and the uncertainties some fields of geoscience have to deal with.

I just hope i can further awake your interest in volcanism :-)

Edit: there are examples where a small pressure release from a single eruption lead to cataclysmic reactions due to fluid releases or inflow, i think of plinian Vesuv and Santorini (Thera) eruptions, Mt. St. Helens ... not sure if Krakatoa ...

Edited by Green Baron

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Actually best off to just let it be, in all realistic ideas is to just forget it exists and enjoy the landscape and beauty of the place.

I actually live in Montana, and been to Yellowstone at one point, I believe in a class field trip.

However, in any case of the manner the best logical idea is to do nothing.

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7 minutes ago, Green Baron said:

@cratercracker got a good point.

And i have too much time :-)

Consider the following highly abstract thought: the forces right now are in an equilibrium. That includes the pressure from the plume below the chamber, resulting from up-flow, densities, fluid contents (gases or water), temperature etc., the composition and state of differentiation in the chamber, with its liquid or more or less viscous parts and the solved gases and fluids, and the weight of the cover over it. As long as nothing changes that may stay so until the chamber has solidified (10s of millions of years) and/or the supply from the plume decreases.

Now, if we poke into the chamber to release the pressure solved fluids might start to bubble out like a soda bottle that is opened. Also, a partial release of pressure might result in spontaneous melting of formerly low viscous or even solid phases, further enhancing the pressure, leading to more bubbling out of gases. That could and will open cracks, allowing the abundant ground water to come in. You might (and probably will actually in the case of Yellowstone) end up with a disastrous outcome, destroying part of a continent instead of trying to save the world.

I do not pretend that the above is correct, but i ask to take into consideration the work others have done on volcanism and the uncertainties some fields of geoscience have to deal with.

I just hope i can further awake your interest in volcanism :-)

Edit: there are examples where a small pressure release from a single eruption lead to cataclysmic reactions due to fluid releases or inflow, i think of plinian Vesuv and Santorini (Thera) eruptions, Mt. St. Helens ... not sure if Krakatoa ...

I think the scale of it is such that even just a "poke" would require nuclear charges...

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The only "viable" way of taking energy out of a volcano i can see in current technology (without just making it errupt) would be a (very, very) big geothermal powerplant. But even this is not easy, but at least if we succed we would propably solve a big part of worlds energy problems.

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Good idea. No, it is not easy and leads to its own problems. Like connecting aquifers and and clay layers on the way down, causing heaving what makes the above house owners angry and lawyers happy :-)

Using a geothermal gradient for energy production is being worked on. It is done but not in great industrial style. And nobody wants it under his own house ...

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1 hour ago, Volcanistical said:

Actually best off to just let it be, in all realistic ideas is to just forget it exists and enjoy the landscape and beauty of the place.

I actually live in Montana, and been to Yellowstone at one point, I believe in a class field trip.

However, in any case of the manner the best logical idea is to do nothing.

It has been some thought about cooling it, drill down on the sides, you want to get in on the sides not the top. 
extract geothermal energy at large scale, do this for hundreds or tousands of years and it should have an effect. If it work you would has to drill more as the other areas cools down. 

Yes its problems, it would require complex drilling like you do for oil wells but at very high temprature. 
 

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