NASA Wants to Drill Yellowstone Supervolcano for Just $ 3,4 Billion
WYOMING – October 8, 2018
Yellowstone has, in recent years, attracted a lot of attention because a third of its territory is one of the largest supervolcanoes in the world. Experts have long tried to determine the date of a future eruption, because its scope may well be catastrophic for the entire planet. Remarkably, the longer experts engage in the study, the more mysteries the giant volcano presents. But still, most geologists say that supervolcanoes tend to explode.
Yellowstone is one of only 14 supervolcanoes in the world, and it is the only one on land.
It is 2,000 times bigger than Mount Saint Helens which erupted in Washington state in the 1980's.
No one is saying there is a pending eruption, but if an eruption did take place, it could literally wipe out every living thing within 500 miles in all directions during the first hour.
As volcanic ash is hurled high into the atmosphere, prevailing winds would carry it to the entire western two-thirds of the United States, killing crops and cattle — imperiling the food supply — and changing the weather across our entire planet for years.
However, there is no reason to panic. If authorities determine that an eruption is becoming likely, they will give us all a warning. It should be noted that the processes inside the supervolcano are extremely complex. Throughout its history, scientists and others experts have repeatedly recorded such “awakenings.” Geologists also recorded numerous emissions of another geyser known as the Steamboat Geуser in the summer. However, the overall picture remains quite mysterious, which is no reason to sound the alarm.
Besides, NASA said it has an ambitious plan, which is pretty much the same as in the film Armageddon with Bruce Willis. In short, the essence of their reasoning is approximately as follows: The hotter it gets in the volcano, the more gases it produces. The magma continues to melt and the area above the magma chamber rises, and when the heat exceeds a certain threshold, an explosion is inevitable. So the logical solution would be to cool the supervolcano.
To cool the volcano, large amounts of water are needed that, in theory, would have to be fed into the volcano, but it would be too expensive and inefficient. But NASA has an alternative solution: drill 6 miles deep into the supervolcano and pump water down under high pressure. This would slowly lower the temperature day by day. After heating, this water will rise up in the form of steam, with a temperature of 662°. This energy could be used to create a geothermal plant that would generate electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10/kWh.
Thus, NASA experts intend to solve two problems at once: to prevent the end of mankind and to supply the U.S. with cheap electricity. The water will cool the supervolcano, and the heating process will provide Americans with electricity.
However, this idea is quite risky because drilling there could even accelerate the eruption of the volcano. That’s why NASA decided to drill into the sides of the volcano instead of directly at the tip of the magma reservoir.
The catch is that the plan comes with a hefty price tag: $3.46 billion.
However, when you weigh the benefits — like the fact that we could prevent the end of mankind in the long run — it seems worth the cost.
Geothermal companies concerned would need an incentive to drill deeper and to use hotter water than they would normally, but the idea is that the customer would pay back the initial investment and, in return, would get electricity to power the surrounding area, possibly for tens of thousands of years.
NASA has warned: “Yellowstone explodes roughly every 600,000 years, and it's about 600,000 years since it last exploded. That should be making us sit up and pay attention.”