Draining the Caldera
September 20, 2012 11:57 AM Subscribe
If we knew when it was going to happen could our society engineer a way to prevent an upcoming volcanic eruption?
posted by cirrostratus to Science & Nature (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
A recent conversation over beers veered into some idle speculation about the various science apocalypses the internet likes to freak out about from time to time and if they could be prevented. Asteroids and super volcanoes and the like. There is already plenty of info out there about the challenges involved in of nudging an asteroid out of a collision course. It seems maybe doable, especially since we'll most likely have decades of warning and Bruce Willis is still currently alive.
But what about supervolcanoes, or volcanoes in general? If we were somehow given a decade of advanced warning could something like the Yellowstone caldera be prevented? I'm imagining some sort of network of drills and lowlands used as planned magma drainage basins to release the pressure. Granted we can't drill down to the mantle, but presumably if the magma is bubbling up under pressure we wouldn't need to right? If this would work how many low lying towns would we need to evacuate and replace with new igneous deposits to make this happen? Do we have the chops to build a magma pipeline to dump it into the ocean? Or to shoot it at our enemies Dwarf Fortress style?