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Supervolcano Drilling Plan Gets Go-Ahead

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.

Earth 109

sciencehabit writes "A project to drill deep into the heart of a 'supervolcano' in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Yesterday, Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep. The project’s organizers originally intended to bore a 4-kilometer-deep well in the area of the caldera late in 2009, but the plan was put on hold by then-mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino after scientists expressed concerns about the risks."

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109 comments

Supervolcano Drilling Plan Gets Go-Ahead? (0)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#40046481)

"That's what SHE said!" ;-)

Re:Supervolcano Drilling Plan Gets Go-Ahead? (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 2 years ago | (#40048683)

After you sent her the card last week? Slashdot is no place for your oedipal fantasies.

Dear Syfy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046515)

The Italians would like to give you the plot and backdrop for your next movie. Add a giant creature (maybe it's den was in a cavern above the caldera.. or even better it lives in the magma) and there you go, instant movie.

Re:Dear Syfy (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40046571)

The Italians would like to give you the plot and backdrop for your next movie. Add a giant creature (maybe it's den was in a cavern above the caldera.. or even better it lives in the magma) and there you go, instant movie.

...

I see no other possible outcome...

Facciamolo!

Re:Dear Syfy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047107)

Haven't they done that movie... a few times... in the last couple weeks...?

Re:Dear Syfy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047817)

The Italians would like to give you the plot and backdrop for your next movie.

Mario Bros vs. Cthulhu

Re:Dear Syfy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40048041)

Didn't Evangelion do that in 1995?

Murphy's Law (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046527)

What could go wrong?

Jesus. Just JESUS! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046529)

Jesus. Is this shit smart? They want to bury another city in volcanic ash???

In Italy? (5, Insightful)

jesseck (942036) | about 2 years ago | (#40046533)

Is this the same country that sued scientists over not predicting natural disasters last year? Who gets sued if / when the Volcano erupts (regardless of the cause- natural or drilling)?

Re:In Italy? (2)

AZURERAZOR (472031) | about 2 years ago | (#40046585)

Awesome this time they will be able to give a good warning... In the next three months while we drill into the caldera.

Problem solved... maybe they will manage to completely destroy all the people who were disatisfied with the lack of warning last time?

Re:In Italy? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046637)

In the case of a supervolcano eruption I would like to think the locals would have better things to do in their remaining minutes of life than file lawsuits.

Re:In Italy? (3, Insightful)

moj0joj0 (1119977) | about 2 years ago | (#40048569)

In the case of a supervolcano eruption I would like to think the locals would have better things to do in their remaining minutes of life than file lawsuits.

I think you may have some rather high expectations on this one...

Re:In Italy? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40046713)

It's a Super Volcano. If and when it erupts there won't be anyone around to care enough about who gets sued. Any survivors will be scrambling for survival.

Re:In Italy? (2)

chill (34294) | about 2 years ago | (#40046855)

If there is one species that is more resilient than cockroaches it has to be lawyers.

I can easily foresee lawsuits from neighboring countries, especially those downwind of the eruption.

The various airlines might see an opportunity as well.

Re:In Italy? (4, Informative)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | about 2 years ago | (#40046939)

We are all downwind from super volcanoes.

Re:In Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047023)

Yeah.. think ice age for 200+ years downwind type of thing.

Super volcanoes, if they erupt, can reform the entire face of the planet. A little like poking a bee hive, except the bee hive in this case has the equivalent of about 500-1000 nuclear bombs inside of it...

I guess I will trust the boffins know that this will NOT create an eruption event, since I have no choice.

Appropriate captcha: Melted.

Re:In Italy? (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40047451)

On the other hand, one problem with volcanoes, super or otherwise, is that they do erupt from time to time. The smaller ones are bad enough: look what happened when Mt. St. Helens erupted. Or much worse, Krakatoa in 1883, which was so loud it was reportedly heard 3000 miles away! But a supervolcano is really bad; according to Wikipedia, the Lake Toba eruption ~74000 years ago eradicated 60% of the human population with the volcanic winter it produced. A supervolcano erupting now would be devastating to our modern society, much like an Apophis-sized asteroid striking the earth would.

Instead of sitting around and hoping no eruptions happen, it's probably better we learn about how these geologic processes work, and figure out ways to control them, so we aren't constantly in danger of near-extinction. I'm no geologist, but drilling into volcanoes to relieve the pressure seems like a good idea to prevent impending eruptions. Similarly, instead of sitting around and hoping no big asteroids hit us, it would make a lot more sense to develop space-based capabilities and technology to avoid any asteroid strikes. However, humans are notoriously short-sighted so if such things happen before a giant disaster instead of after, it'd be a miracle. What's bad is that these disasters have happened (both asteroid strikes and supervolcanoes), many times before in history, just not within living peoples' memories.

Re:In Italy? (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40047533)

I'm no geologist, but drilling into volcanoes to relieve the pressure seems like a good idea to prevent impending eruptions.

I think it depends on how and when you relieve that presure. Inducing a large volcanic eruption now instead of say, 10,000 years from now, might well be beneficial to those future inhabitants, but it would happen to us.

I think a better approach is to sap the heat of the volcano via massive geothermal energy. Our society really does use up a lot of energy (and it's growing considerably over time), and over geological periods of time, we probably could shut down most of the more dangerous volcanoes on the planet with very aggressive geothermal harvesting.

Re:In Italy? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40047543)

That sounds like a rather brilliant idea actually.

Re:In Italy? (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | about 2 years ago | (#40047745)

You think stopping the tectonic renewal is a brilliant idea?

Re:In Italy? (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40047989)

Doesn't have to be stopped everywhere. Some areas are much higher risk than others. For example, no reason to mess with seabed spreading or the Hawaiian volcanoes.

Re:In Italy? (1)

janimal (172428) | about 2 years ago | (#40050471)

For me, my children, my grandchildren, my great grandchildren, and their great grandchildrent, and many many more... yes.

Re:In Italy? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#40048589)

I'm skeptical that we can do anything to change the course of a supervolcanic eruption. If the Earth decides it want's to erupt somewhere I think it's going to happen. At best we might put it off for a few years or force it to erupt in an adjacent area.

Re:In Italy? (4, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40048931)

I dimly recall a quote from a fantasy author, Glen Cook on this. To paraphrase, with enough lead time one can control nature. A supervolcano eruption is just a lot of energy. Dissipate it and there is no eruption. But one won't be able to do so in a short period of time.

For example, a while back, I did a crude calculation on the energy entering the Yellowstone hotspot. My guess is that it is roughly the same order of magnitude as the electric power currently produced by the US (roughly a terawatt of heat introduced over hundreds of thousands of years). That's feasible to dissipate either as useful power or waste heat to space. For example, dumping a terawatt to the large lake, Lake Yellowstone present in the caldera, would result in a dissipation of roughly 3000 watts per square meter (1 terawatt over 350 square km of lake) over the lake's surface (assuming one didn't enlarge the lake to its ice age borders), which is roughly equivalent, I think to about 10-20 times the energy received by the lake from the Sun during the summer solstice. It's a lot of heat, but something that would be possible to dissipate just with what's present at the caldera.

Do that over a few hundred thousand years and you've probably defused the Yellowstone hotspot permanently.

The point is not to lobby for radical environmental and geological changes, which may well be more costly than the disasters they are intended to prevent, but to point out that we have a surprising capability here to prevent global disasters which in the past would have just been considered unstoppable "acts of god".

Re:In Italy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40049029)

As an aside, the flow rate of water out of the lake varies (according to Wikipedia) from 20 to 240 m^3/s (cubic meters per second). If instead, that water were flashed into steam, it would dissipate only a fraction of a terawatt. For example, at 50 cubic meters of water per second, that would take roughly a tenth of a terawatt to flash into steam (if I didn't screw up the calculation). One would need to pump in a lot of water (say at least 500 m^3/s), especially in the lowest flow rates of the fall and winter, to dissipate enough energy via the lake. That's a flow rate of a large river, such as the terminus of the Yellowstone River (roughly 400 m^3/s) where it empties into the Missouri River. At a guess, the Missouri River in turn averages somewhere around 2,500 m^3/s which would be five times this rate.

Just for giggles, I tried calculating the water supplied via the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to southern California. They supplied 760 billion liters of water in 2003, which corresponds to an average flow rate of roughly 25 m^3/s.

So possible, but an order of magnitude larger than one of the larger water systems in the US of the past century.

Re:In Italy? (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 2 years ago | (#40049833)

I'd like to see the details of that calculation, but I fear that you are off by a couple of orders of magnitude somewhere. The thing that makes Yellowstone so dangerous is the fact that the mantle plume melts the granitic crust, yielding a highly volatile, gaseous granitic magma. I doubt it that the energy to melt the crust over the whole Yellowstone area concentrated into Lake Yellowstone just turns out as 10-20 times the solar constant, area-wise. That's not to say that geoengineering on such a scale is impossible as such, though.

Also, more people should read Glen Cook, btw.

Re:In Italy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40049911)

I doubt it that the energy to melt the crust over the whole Yellowstone area concentrated into Lake Yellowstone just turns out as 10-20 times the solar constant, area-wise.

Over a few hundred thousand years. Don't forget the time part. You might still be right about the zeroes.

Re:In Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40050463)

There's the difference between energy and power... I don't know how much power is transported into the plume, and back out from there by the flow of molten granite back out the plume and whatever hot water, steam or heat escapes at the surface, but the energy contained in the plume at any time should be roughly constant and easy to calculate given the volume, temperature and material composition.

Re:In Italy? (1)

Azghoul (25786) | about 2 years ago | (#40052367)

Don't anthropomorphize the Earth, it really doesn't like it.

(And you sound like a dumbass)

Relieving the pressure might trigger an eruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40048603)

Actually, the drilling might actually trigger an eruption. In some respects, volcanoes are like a bottle of soda pop. Sometimes when you uncap the bottle the pressure keeping the carbon dioxide in solution is eliminated. As a result, the carbon dioxide suddenly becomes a gas again and the soda pop flows out of the bottle. In volcanoes, a lot of gas is dissolved in the magma and stays in solution because of the pressure. When a small crack in the rock relieves some of the pressure, the gas suddenly becomes gas again. A full eruption then occurrs.

Re:In Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40048935)

eradicated 60% of the human population

Wouldn't that be a good thing, though? Humans are like parasites. They keep pointlessly mating over and over and over again without a care in the world. Their desire to pass on their genes is pointless and will, on average, result in an average human being. They're simply mindlessly following their instincts and then rationalizing it by claiming that their genes are good. If I didn't get eliminated myself, I think it'd be quite funny to see these pointless happy families dying.

Re:In Italy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40049237)

Wouldn't that be a good thing, though? Humans are like parasites.

If they were, then getting rid of a mere 60% of humans would be of no consequence. They'd just breed back.

Re:In Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40049649)

Good point.

Re:In Italy? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40049215)

Super volcanoes, if they erupt, can reform the entire face of the planet.

Name one that has. We have trouble discerning supervolcano eruptions that are more than a few million years old. And they aren't that profound. For example, the Yellowstone hotspot has generated somewhere over 100 caldera eruptions, one which was the third largest known supervolcano eruption of the past 26 million years. So what has it done? Dump a lot of ash and make the US state of Idaho a great place for potatoes. That's not what I'd call reforming the face of the planet.

Even the far larger basalt floods of the Columbia Plateau (roughly 15-16 million years ago and which to my knowledge aren't considered "supervolcano" eruptions), which are thought to either create the Yellowstone hotspot or come as a consequence of its passage through the subduction zone of the western US coast, didn't reform the face of the planet, though they may have reformed the entire western US.

Re:In Italy? (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40046899)

Is this the same country that sued scientists over not predicting natural disasters last year?

That's the sensationalist headline, but it's more a lesson on how scientist should present their theories. Say'n stuff like " no reason to suppose a sequence of small earthquakes could be the prelude to a strong event", probably should have instead been something more like: it's unlikely that small earthquakes are are prelude to a strong event... Sure it sounds weasly, but is probably more representative of how science really should be presenting information to make it more resistant to politician-telephone distortion into a statement like "the scientific community tells us there is no danger, because there is an ongoing discharge of energy"...

Who gets sued if / when the Volcano erupts (regardless of the cause- natural or drilling)?

I don't know how the italian legal system works, but if it's like the USA legal system, anyone with enough money that might be forced to pay is a potential target of a law suit.

Re:In Italy? (4, Informative)

ankhank (756164) | about 2 years ago | (#40047135)

It's been done before, accidentally:

"Monday December 22, 2008
Big Isle well strikes deep lava chamber
Magma flowing into a shaft was the first seen in its “natural habitat”
By Rod Thompson
Honolulu Star-Bulletin
HILO Geologists around the world are perking up at the news from San Francisco last week that magma flowed a short distance into a Big Island geothermal well during drilling in 2005, revealing an unusual mineral.
Geologists on the Big Island are taking the news more calmly since they were informed months earlier, and a much more dramatic case of magma in a geothermal well took place in Iceland in 1977...."

Re:In Italy? (1)

user flynn (236683) | about 2 years ago | (#40048637)

Geologists on the Big Island are taking the news more calmly since they were informed months earlier, and a much more dramatic case of magma in a geothermal well took place in Iceland in 1977...."

Yeah. So you're basically saying we have ~30 years before it begins to cause problems?

    -- joking.. really.

Re:In Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047017)

Is this the same country that sued scientists over not predicting natural disasters last year?

Nope. This is the country that sued scientists for predicting there would be no natural disaster. I'm not sure what Italy you're talking about.

Re:In Italy? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#40047129)

Is this the same country that sued scientists over not predicting natural disasters last year? Who gets sued if / when the Volcano erupts (regardless of the cause- natural or drilling)?

At that point, does it matter?

Re:In Italy? (2)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 years ago | (#40047809)

Is this the same country that sued scientists over not predicting natural disasters last year? Who gets sued if / when the Volcano erupts (regardless of the cause- natural or drilling)?

No, they sued a person responsible for warning people in case there are signs of trouble, they sued him because he went in front of cameras and told people to IGNORE earthquakes because there was NO WAY a big one was coming, and on the next day there were 150 dead people, people that would exit their homes when earth started to shake like they used to for years if they didnt listen to that retarded "scientist".

In other news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046535)

In other news, geologists from Naples saw a wild dog outside their lab. In order to see if it was rabid or not, they decided to poke it with a pointy stick.

Re:In other news (2)

BagOCrap (980854) | about 2 years ago | (#40046641)

Turns out the dog wasn't rabid, so they went on with their plans of drilling into the supervolcano in order to see whether it is active.

Re:In other news (4, Interesting)

bobwrit (1232148) | about 2 years ago | (#40046693)

I feel like I should share this story at this point. While I was taking Differential Equations at my University, our prof would (pretty heavily) motivate problems with stories behind them. His method of elaborating second order linear ODE's. was "OK, imagine that you have a mass on a spring. This system is then immersed in a vat of goo. You put on your hazmat suit, and go into the goo yourself, with a pointy stick. You then begin to poke the mass on the spring. We want to model the mass's movements. Go." It was quite hilarious at the time, and one of my more memorable moments(the other two were his motivation for non-linear first order ODE's(it involved bunnies stacking on top of each other), and solving 2nd order non-linear ode's... specifically with Einstein's corrections to newton's second law to deal with perihelion precession. and seeing the solutions for black holes pop out from that). Back to the topic at hand: this could be a good idea, but only if they don't plan on drilling a significant distance to the magma chamber of the volcano. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure the stress may cause a premature eruption(which, albeit, probably wouldn't be as bad as letting it go to full term/letting the chamber fill up so much it erupts).

Re:In other news (4, Insightful)

Saija (1114681) | about 2 years ago | (#40046835)

I, and could imagine many other folks here at /. are wondering about that bunnies, could you share it with us?

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047789)

Premature Eruption could be a good idea... less pressure and you know where it will erupt so you could divert it into the ocean.

Bad Idea? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40046551)

From what I understand this is supposed to help further knowledge about how dangerous that particular super volcano is. Is there a possibility that they are too confident and think that there is no way they could inadvertently trigger an eruption?

Re:Bad Idea? (1)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 2 years ago | (#40046651)

> Is there ... no way they could inadvertently trigger an eruption?

Never mind an eruption, they could cause a vent to open that spews lava for years to come. Wasn't there a place they did this in the Philipines somewhere? Very runny lava spewed out for years and years covering and destroying a large surrounding area, like a big very flat volcano. But I suppose it relieves the pressure and could build some more islands or something if they want that.

Re:Bad Idea? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047041)

That wasn't lava, that was mud. It's still active and it's in Indonesia.

Sidoarjo mud flow [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bad Idea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047145)

So we need to get ready to sell some inventive high temperature resistant "For Sale" signs to Italian realtors...

This Lot won't last long!
(it's going to be covered over)

Smokin' Deal!!!
(no, really)

Scenic Mountain View
(coming soon)

Re:Bad Idea? (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40047485)

That sounds like a great way to prevent a volcano from erupting, if you do it just right. Lava spewing out for years and years is far preferable to having an actual eruption. And if you can direct the lava into a nearby ocean, you can create more land, which in a place with a land shortage can be very useful.

Of course, there's the possibility of screwing up and causing an early eruption. That would still probably be better than a natural eruption (it'd be a lesser magnitude, and you might have more control over where the eruption is directed), but people affected won't see it like that and you'll get all the blame for the eruption.

Re:Bad Idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046657)

I think you underestimate how big a volcano is, and how this floating mass of magma can, say, crack rocks. This is nothing compared to what the motion of the magma is doing to crack rocks.

Re:Bad Idea? (2)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 years ago | (#40048679)

I suspect drilling into this area is about as likely to cause an eruption as sticking a hypodermic needle into your butt is likely to cause you to bleed to death. Unless the magma chamber is extremely shallow it will most likely solidify and plug the borehole long before it hits the surface.

Pop goes the brady? (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#40046565)

So the area has an issue with bradyseism, wouldn't that be a sign that perhaps they may accidentally pierce a magma chamber?

Whirring noise (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046655)

At a press conference held in the drilling facility earlier today, a chief engineer responded to questions by leaning into a microphone and stating "Don't worry. Everything will be fine. We have put in place extra safety procedures, and we have everything well under control." Interestingly, as he completed his sentence, a strange whirring sound could be heard coming from a hallway full of steam pipes leading off from the room where the microphone stands had been placed. A junior engineer returned a few minutes later, sighting no sign of damage, but noting that a tall blue crate with a light on top was sitting by access grate number five, and nobody could remember bringing it in by forklift.

Re:Whirring noise (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#40046797)

At a press conference held in the drilling facility earlier today, a chief engineer responded to questions by leaning into a microphone and stating "Don't worry. Everything will be fine. We have put in place extra safety procedures, and we have everything well under control." Interestingly, as he completed his sentence, a strange whirring sound could be heard coming from a hallway full of steam pipes leading off from the room where the microphone stands had been placed. A junior engineer returned a few minutes later, sighting no sign of damage, but noting that a tall blue crate with a light on top was sitting by access grate number five, and nobody could remember bringing it in by forklift.

That was a police box.

Re:Whirring noise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047447)

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Re:Whirring noise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047095)

Say hi to the Silurians for me.

Eh (5, Informative)

tmosley (996283) | about 2 years ago | (#40046719)

If a single borehole into a magma chamber were all it took to trigger an eruption, we wouldn't have supervolcanoes, as they would have all bled out their pressure long ago. You might get a tiny earthquake, or an explosion large enough to collapse the borehole, but the it is very unlikely that anything worse than that would happen. If something that small could cause it, it would have been triggered naturally.

Re:Eh (1)

Mirkman (1720140) | about 2 years ago | (#40047175)

If a single borehole into a magma chamber were all it took to trigger an eruption, we wouldn't have supervolcanoes, as they would have all bled out their pressure long ago. You might get a tiny earthquake, or an explosion large enough to collapse the borehole, but the it is very unlikely that anything worse than that would happen. If something that small could cause it, it would have been triggered naturally.

My thoughts exactly

Re:Eh (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | about 2 years ago | (#40047213)

True enough. If that was the case then you'd have terrorists aiming to take out the USA buying drilling equipment and smuggling into Yellowstone to trigger the supervolcano there.

Re:Eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047359)

Well, what about the coolant they use? Water+heat=LOTS of steam.Pressure.Boom!

No boom. (1)

doug141 (863552) | about 2 years ago | (#40049167)

water+heat= no phase change beyond the critical point, which is 22 MPa for water, which is the pressure just 700 meters down.

I wonder (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#40046831)

despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion

How much risk is actually behind that statement, versus making such a statement only to avoid ending up on manslaughter charges like some other Italian geologists... See what happens when you mix politics and truth?

Disaster movie? (1)

linuxdude96 (1382885) | about 2 years ago | (#40046893)

A complex scientific drilling operation into the core of a thought to be, inert supervolcano, goes horribly wrong, and the world is plunged into nuclear winter. Wars over the last land still able to produce crops soon followed. The only chance humanity has, is to stay united and escape the earth.

syfy likes rip off big moves now days (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40046969)

Re:syfy likes rip off big moves now days (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40047527)

How does Asylum make money with those crappy movies anyway? No one watches them, and they're rated as poorly as (or maybe worse than) Uwe Boll's movies on IMDB.

I suspect they're involved in money laundering somehow.

Re:syfy likes rip off big moves now days (1)

Erect Horsecock (655858) | about 2 years ago | (#40049831)

They get them on to store shelves at the same time that major film is still in theatres. This way they can play off the big movies advertising with little expenditure of their own, and they used to have a deal with Blockbuster that guaranteed every store would buy x amount of copies but I doubt that is still going.

Seemed like a good idea at the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40046977)

What could possibly go wrong?

I look forward to teaching my grand kids (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40047013)

where Italy was~

Re:I look forward to teaching my grand kids (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 2 years ago | (#40047141)

where Italy was~

That's pretty optimistic.

Have you started building your shelter yet? In all likelihood, you won't be around to see them, since the
intra-generational gap will spread in the post-apocalyptic world. But a shelter would increase your chances.

-AI

Doctor Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047235)

Doesn't this sound like at least two Doctor Who episodes?

It never ends well!!!

Re:Doctor Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047801)

The question is... how many people here have seen that story arc?

Sidoarjo Mud Flow (3, Interesting)

tiny69 (34486) | about 2 years ago | (#40047475)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidoarjo_mud_flow [wikipedia.org]

It is expected it to flow for the next 25 to 30 years.

Re:Sidoarjo Mud Flow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40050443)

That's from high fluid (water+gas) pressures. Magma wouldn't behave that way because it is a high-temperature melt. If a small diameter hole penetrated into a magma chamber (which isn't expected in this case anyway -- magma is deeper), the most likely outcome would be a bunch of steam and the hole would plug itself as the melt flowed in the bottom, contacted the walls, cooled, solidified, and clogged the whole thing up. This sort of thing has happened before [bbc.co.uk], accidentally, and while it's bad for the drilling equipment, no disaster ensued.

Putting it another way, if a tiny hole would lead to an eruption, then the thing would already be erupting or would be doing so very soon anyway.

Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40047749)

Having been to Naples I can say... No big loss

2012 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40048075)

>Drill a hole into a super volcano.

In case of pyroclastic flow (4, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 2 years ago | (#40048701)

Duck and cover. The thousand degree cloud of gas and ash will pass harmlessly over you.

Re:In case of pyroclastic flow (2)

BackwardPawn (1356049) | about 2 years ago | (#40049055)

Or preserve you for some future culture to dig you out and make your city a museum in a couple thousand years. Win/win.

The lead scientist... (1)

BackwardPawn (1356049) | about 2 years ago | (#40048999)

...Dr. Wile E. Coyote was quoted as saying, "This will be a great scientific breakthrough...and we should reach lava about the time that damn bird is scheduled to run through. Nothing could go wrong this time!" The project's main sponsor, Acme Drilling Co., could not be reached for contact.

Supervolcano Drilling Plan (2)

emaname (1014225) | about 2 years ago | (#40049313)

What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Supervolcano Drilling Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051377)

It`s better to drill it down before it blows up on his own no?

Re:Supervolcano Drilling Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40051421)

Imagine! It's an awesome source of heat which could generate enough energy to power up somes crazy projects :)
Can't wait to see this thing works, and also would like to do the same thing here in Canada (we have a awesome super volcano here too!)
And add to this a great source of many minerals, without even digging for it!

So...
1- Dig
2- Get Lava
3- Use the heat to power the "mineral separation" process
4- Break and separate minerals found in the cool lava
5- Profits, profits and many more profits

or
1- Dig
2- Blows up ;)

Dams tend to work best without holes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40049383)

Ever heard the saying "Don't poke a hole in the Dike?" How about "It's unwise to prod a sleeping bear." Sure this has some useful potential applications. We would know a heck of a lot more about super volcanoes and what makes them tick. We would probably be able to figure out a way to harness geothermal energy on a massive scale. We just might also learn the global whether and economic impact of a large scale volcanic eruption. I'm sure a shallow well of about 500 meters would be harmless, but I wouldn't suggest going much deeper. If you thought pressurized oil coming from a sea floor well was bad, try pressurized magma that tends to melt whatever cork you attempt to fit in it. Once a pathway to the surface is found, magma will eat away at the rock the same way water erodes the surrounding riverbanks. I doubt that we have the technology to control something with that much shear power behind it. Also with the goal of relieving pressure is probably a bad idea as magma is constantly flowing into the magma chamber. I doubt that we could keep up with the flow rate. Best we could do is delay the inevitable.

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