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NASA wants to stop the eruption of supervolcanoes are a great threat to Earth

NASA wants to stop the eruption of supervolcanoes are a great threat to Earth

Volcanoes are one of the most powerful, brutal and uncontrollable natural phenomena in nature. Many cases throughout the history of humanity demonstrate it: Pompeii; the Paricutín volcano (Mexico) in 1943 or the Tambora (Indonesia) in 1815.

Currently around 20 supervolcanoes are known and it is known that the approximate frequency of eruptions occurs every 100,000 years, resulting in severe alterations in the climate.

Here are some of them:

The La Pacana volcanic caldera is located in the western mountain range of the Antofagasta region in Chile. With a collapse structure of 6,000 square kilometers, it is considered one of the largest in the world.


The Maroa caldera was formed in New Zealand approximately 230,000 years ago. Its size is 16 x 25 kilometers.


The actual extent of the area devastated by the La Garita Caldera eruption, located in Colorado, USA, is believed to have covered a significant percentage of that state. The resulting reservoir has a volume of approximately 5000 km3 and is enough to fill Lake Michigan.


The Toba eruption occurred between 69,500 and 77,500 years ago at the site of Lake Toba today, in the center of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is estimated that the total amount of erupted material reached about 2,800 km3.


The Taupo volcanic area is located on the North Island of New Zealand. It owes its name to Lake Taupo, which occupies the caldera of the volcano of the same name, created after an eruption of a supervolcano some 26,500 years ago.


Cerro Guacha, a Miocene caldera in the province of Sur Lípez, Bolivia, is part of the volcanic system of the Andes. The eruption had a minimum volume of 1,300 cubic kilometers and covered an area of ​​at least 5,800 square kilometers.


Scientists are searching for a plan to control them. This is the most dangerous:

The Yellowstone caldera is located in the US under the National Park of the same name. Scientists from the University of Utah, USA, discovered in the lower crust of the supervolcano a huge reservoir of magma that, according to their calculations, could fill 11 times the Grand Canyon, located in the state of Arizona, or most of the Caspian Sea.

In particular, this supervolcano erupts every 600,000 years or so, and that is exactly how long it has not done ... The eruption could occur at any time.

It adds to the concern of scientists, not only the destruction of an entire park, but the serious damage to the global climate.

In 1815, the Tambora eruption plunged the world into a permanent winter that lasted the entire following year (also known as the year without a summer, of poverty, the summer that never was, the year that had no summer, and Eighteen hundred ice and death. )

We do not know for sure the consequences of that year without a summer, but it is worth remembering that, according to the UN, in the face of a world cataclysmcurrent food stocks would last only 74 days.

Tame the volcano

Currently, Yellowstone filters into the atmosphere approximately 60-70% of the heat it produces through water that seeps through the cracks in the magma chamber.

The rest accumulates within the lava, which acts as a fuel to dissolve more and more volatile gases and surrounding rocks.

When this heat reaches a certain threshold, an eruption is inevitable.

Butif more heat could be extracted then the supervolcano would never erupt.

For this reason, NASA is thinking of taking heat from the volcano, cooling it from top to bottom, installing a gigantic cooling system right next to Yellowstone.They will drill a hole near the volcano and pump water inside..

The circulating liquid would return to the surface as a vapor, at a temperature of around 350 ° C. Thus, slowly, day by day, heat would be extracted from the volcano.

This water would also serve to generate geothermal energy, which would finance the maintenance of the system. "Yellowstone currently leaks about 6 gigawatts in heat. With drilling, thiscould be used to create a geothermal plant, which would generate electricity at very competitive prices of around US $ 0.10 / kWh

NASA estimates that if it succeeded in reducing35% from the heat that is generated within the magma chamber, Yellowstone would no longer pose a threat.

But there are risks

The drilling of a supervolcano would not come without certain risks. In fact,could trigger the rash you want to prevent.

To avoid this you have to be careful anddo not harm the structure of the magma chamber. The intervention must be done from the sides that are even outside the Yellowstone boundaries.

The countdown has begun.

With information from:


Video: The Biggest Volcanic Eruption in Human History (July 2021).