NASA wants to pump huge amounts of water into the Yellowstone supervolcano to cool it down. But this could also trigger a huge catastrophe, which would plunge the whole world into chaos.
NASA Wants To Drill 10km Down Into The Supervolcano
At first glance, NASA’s plan doesn’t sound so bad: huge amounts of water are to be pumped into the Yellowstone supervolcano to cool it down and delay a possible eruption as far as possible. At the same time, electricity could be generated from the resulting water vapor. However, there is a huge catch: Under certain circumstances, this measure may even cause the supervolcano to erupt prematurely and plunge the northern hemisphere into a nuclear winter.
Yellowstone Could Become Geothermal Facility
Brian Wilcox of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab told the BBC that the US space agency was planning “to drill up to 10 km into the supervolcano and pump water down at high pressure”, which would slowly remove heat. He pointed out that while the cost of this project is estimated at $3.46 billion, it could also be an interesting investment opportunity as the volcano, which currently emits around 6 gigawatts of heat, can essentially be converted into a huge geothermal facility. It could supply electricity at extremely competitive prices of around 0.10 US dollars per kWh.
“You would have to give the geothermal companies incentives to drill somewhat deeper and use hotter water than they usually would, but you would pay back your initial investment, and get electricity which can power the surrounding area for a period of potentially tens of thousands of years. And the long-term benefit is that you prevent a future supervolcano eruption which would devastate humanity”
NASA Project Could Cause Volcanic Winter
However, the scientist warns that even a small mistake could lead to the eruption of the supervolcano – in other words, that what geologists are trying to prevent will happen. The BBC points out that a supervolcan eruption could trigger a “prolonged volcanic winter”, with the resulting crop failure that puts humanity on the brink of starvation, as “food reserves worldwide will last 74 days”.
NASA’s plans are literally a game with fire. Only that then not only the northwest North America is affected by it, but in particular the whole northern hemisphere and in further consequence even the whole world.