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The Bold and Controversial Plan to Drill Into a Supervolcano

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posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:01 AM
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Recently I posted a story about a recent study that suggested that Campi Flegrei, a monstrous supervolcano in Italy, had magma that was reaching a critical degassing pressure, and could possibly blow:
Set to blow? Supervolcano Campi Flegrei reawakening near Naples, could hit 500,000 people

Well a parallel running corollary to this story is another, perhaps even more shocking story that there are those that think it would be wise to drill some 3 kms down into this supervolcano, to extract core samples- so they can better understand its composition:

This is the pilot borehole of the Campi Flegrei Deep Drilling Project (CFDDP), an ambitious initiative to drill more than three kilometres (10,000ft) into a supervolcano beneath the Gulf of Naples. Campi Flegrei dwarfs Mount Vesuvius, the region’s more famous volcano. It has the power to kill hundreds of thousands of people and even change the planet’s climate.

Drilling into one of the world’s most hazardous geological features might seem dangerous – especially right now, when images of geological destruction from last week's devastating earthquake in Italy are all too fresh. The scientists behind the project, including Carlino, argue that the real danger is not knowing enough to prepare for an eruption. But others, led by an iconoclastic geochemist named Benedetto De Vivo, fear the drilling could cause a catastrophe. The long-simmering controversy is about something bigger than one project: it's a debate about how deep science should go when the quest for knowledge is fraught with both risk and reward.

...During the 1982-84 episode, scientists witnessed uplift such as had not been seen at Campi Flegrei in modern times. An eruption seemed very much at hand. When nothing happened and the ground subsided, it underscored how poor geologists' understanding of Campi Flegrei was. Thirty years later, the volcano’s plumbing is still something of a mystery. For example, scientists don't fully understand what exactly is lifting up the ground during uplift: fluids heated by magma (less dangerous) or the magma itself (much more). That's because right now, geologists' knowledge is based on data collected at the surface, which offers an incomplete picture. The behaviour of rock under high pressure and temperature can only be observed in artificial lab conditions.


Much more at link:
www.bbc.com...

I'd really read this whole article, if this interests you, so that you can better understand the utterly insane risks these people are trying to take.


On October 6, 2010, less than a year after the project's approval, the Naples daily newspaper Il Mattino ran a front-page story under the .line, "If you touch the volcano Naples will explode." The article relied on the claims of Benedetto De Vivo, a professor at the University of Naples Federico II, who warned that deep drilling in Campi Flegrei could cause an explosion, earthquakes, or even an eruption. With the city atwitter, the then-mayor of Naples, Rosa Russo Iervolino, put the project on hold, saying Italy's emergency-management agency, Protezione Civile, needed to review it for safety.

...the geochemist argues that drilling at Campi Flegrei could cause a "hydrothermal explosion" if drilling equipment were to encounter superheated fluid underground. He cites Indonesia's ongoing Sidoarjo mud flow, which may have been triggered by a blowout at a natural gas well.

More theoretically, De Vivo contends that an explosion has the potential to cause a catastrophic chain reaction. "If you have a hydrothermal explosion, this fluid is coming out," he says. "Then you release the pressure, and magma, which is sitting below – it could generate a magmatic eruption."


Now I happen to agree profusely with this part, and for more reasons than he has just mentioned. Study volcanic systems and you will understand that in most volcanoes, pressure exerted from above in the form of overlying rock is what keeps most of these volcanoes in check, and in some kind of fragile balance. The removal of that pressure in the form of a deep borehole, drilling down to very close where they suspect the top part of the massive magma chamber to be, is utterly insane. What happens when you stick a needle into a balloon?

That's right. POP.

But then again, what would you expect from idiotic scientists who were stupid enough to put the Vesuvius/Flegrei Observatory right in the caldera itself?

So what we have here is a team of scientists that is willing to risk to lives of millions of people, in order to satisfy their desires to know more about the underlying volcanic system. And if any of you read my book, then what we have here is a real life, current version of that Mega Cataclysm brewing.

You can't screw with a system this unpredictable and utterly vast. I don't care HOW bad you THINK that what you are doing is for the ultimate good of scientific understanding. Hell, you already have extensive monitoring systems there, including a full seismic network, GPS, thermal, and gas emission testing. There are some things that are just not worth the risk. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY.

And to you readers on the other side of the globe, who think that you don't care, that this couldn't affect you- you better darn well think again. If a chain reaction were set in motion because of this stupidity, and deep magma is allowed to find a pathway to the surface, it could uncork the whole thing. All you have to do to verify this is call up the USGS, who has fielded many such a phone call from people wondering about ways to relieve the pressure at Yellowstone. In fact, if any of you have watched the movie "Supervolcano," you might remember an exact scene where this exact question was answered: "It could set the volcano off". That's because that information is accurate, according to the known causal factors of eruptions of many, many profusely studied volcanic systems.

And in the case of Flegrei, there is enough magma down there, that if it blows big, it will affect weather patterns and temperatures worldwide. Should it go actual VEI 8, I mean you can kiss life as we know it goodbye. The resulting chain of events from this could be entirely catastrophic. It is just too much to risk.

WAY TOO MUCH.


edit on Tue Dec 27th 2016 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:10 AM
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I always visualized that if this happens, and they don't melt the EXPENSIVE bit, it would effectively release built-up pressure. I thought of this idea the first time I heard that "Yellowstone might go off in our lifetimes". I think this is a fantastic experiment by them! I'm sure the risks are high, but what more of a risk is it if it kills over half a million people when or if it goes off? I will send my best wishes to the team that will be overseeing this event. Thanks for posting!



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: TrueAmerican

comparing the dome of a caldera to a baloon is the most assanine analogy i have heard

and PS - where would you site the observatory ?? - given the clue is in the name - it has to observe the caldera



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:13 AM
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originally posted by: InFriNiTee
I always visualized that if this happens, and they don't melt the EXPENSIVE bit, it would effectively release built-up pressure. I thought of this idea the first time I heard that "Yellowstone might go off in our lifetimes". I think this is a fantastic experiment by them! I'm sure the risks are high, but what more of a risk is it if it kills over half a million people when or if it goes off? I will send my best wishes to the team that will be overseeing this event. Thanks for posting!


Yeah, and just be sure YOU are standing over the borehole yourself when they hit 3 km, and are surprised when they hit unexpected vertical dykes of hot molten magma they could never see even with the best seismic tomography studies.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:14 AM
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good. I hope it erupts.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:16 AM
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originally posted by: ignorant_ape
a reply to: TrueAmerican

comparing the dome of a caldera to a baloon is the most assanine analogy i have heard


You obviously haven't a clue of how volcanic systems work.


and PS - where would you site the observatory ?? - given the clue is in the name - it has to observe the caldera


As far away as possible, like the at least that smart USGS did with Yellowstone. Observatory: in Menlo Park, CA. NOT in the middle of the YS caldera.

*shakes .*



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:26 AM
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a reply to: TrueAmerican

i am not a vulcanologist - but hey - its clear that neither ar you
- however i do understand enough to know that comparing a balloon membrane to a 3km think carapace of solid rock is assanine



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:28 AM
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a reply to: InFriNiTee

Yep. We need to begin taking the first steps in learning how to manage these monsters. It may well be trial and error, but the payoff could be phenomenal.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:32 AM
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I think we should convert a MOAB into the biggest meanest Bunker buster ever built and let her rip from NEO and watch the fireworks.

Should be almost as good as Comet 2016.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:36 AM
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a reply to: TrueAmerican

The final words of the drill team were reported to have been, "Here, hold my beer".



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:42 AM
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originally posted by: angeldoll
a reply to: InFriNiTee
....the payoff could be phenomenal.


Ah no, it couldn't. If that's the case the USGS would already have drilled a 5km borehole into the heart of Yellowstone. But they just aren't that stupid. The absolute BEST they could hope for with a successful borehole drill is just to confirm what they already know about Flegrei's magma composition. And it's stupid as hell, because again, if you've studied volcanic systems, you would know that many are cyclical anyways, and the magma composition can change over time, or very rapidly, if suddenly infused with deep magma from a plume- which is exactly where the source supply is coming from. So the point is that even if they confirm what they expect, it can change tomorrow in a caldera system like this.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:47 AM
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a reply to: TrueAmerican

Oh don't be such a party pooper True. It may be a baby step and risky, but at least they are giving it a go. Every accomplishment we've made has come with risks. The first plane to take flight, the first rocket, etc.

I know you will follow this closely, and as you do, please keep us updated.

Good info, thanks!



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 09:51 AM
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Last thing I saw was the poor little monkey trying to put the cork back in



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 10:04 AM
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At least they arent pouring water in it. Scientists are actually doing that in Oregon, pretty much on the Cascades. They say its dormant but somehow its still hot enough to create energy. I hope they dont kill us while trying to save us. Its not nice to fool with mother nature.

inhabitat.com...

altarockenergy.com...



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 10:04 AM
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originally posted by: visitedbythem
Last thing I saw was the poor little monkey trying to put the cork back in


Yep, that sure was one ignorant ape, huh.



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 10:05 AM
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a reply to: TrueAmerican

Please keep us updated when this project gets underway. I want to see what results they achieve. They would just need some sort of tech that could read for lava and average 3 meters below the bit, and then they could use liquefaction or some process like it to move the other 3 meters of earth. Once the lava is exposed to the liquid from the liquefaction, it could be pumped out with the now cooled-off lava. If the lava cools when they inject the fluids, they could drill farther.

My theory is that they aren't going to want to drill in one spot deeply. I think they should expose as many of these liquefaction vents as they can. The only bad thing about these methods is they could damage the environment, but an eruption could damage it more! If they drill as many vents as they can, they could add a LOT of seawater to cool the lava. It would be interesting if they chose the methods I've stated to see what the effects are on the environment. I think if the vents were placed strategically in lines at a varying elevations around the volcano, that the idea could work.

Example: They make 4 vents on North, South, East, and West. If the vents are placed strategically close together enough, saltwater from the sea could be pumped into one vent, and the somewhat cooled by products could be removed from the vents, and deposited into the ocean (after neutralizing ph, etc.). My theory is that this sort of activity wouldn't cause an eruption, but it will be interesting to see the outcome of this project.

Edit: This would combat the rise of the ocean levels that they harp on us about every day. They could even extract the precious metals, sulfur, toxic metals (mercury, etc.), and other resources. Turning it into a "mine" of sorts would greatly offset the costs of the project.
edit on
edit on 12/27/2016 by InFriNiTee because: (no reason given)
extra DIV



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 11:05 AM
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a reply to: TrueAmerican

How serious are they about attempting this?? That thing must be about to go off posthaste if they're talking about something this dangerous and drastic. And it could have lethal repercussions for everyone else on the planet, too. They're taking a chance with all our lives if they actually do this. If they don't even know for certain what is lurking under there, how can they have any real confidence that they can contain it??



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 11:24 AM
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a reply to: tigertatzen

That's why they had better take their time! Measure 3 times, cut once approach. I think the risks of this are far less than if it actually goes off. If it caused an eruption, that would be scary. I would think that if the proper approach was taken, that it could relieve subterranean pressure, which would offset the volcano from going off. If they did inject liquid and it caused a quake though... Who knows what would happen? That's why they better be extremely careful!



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 12:03 PM
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originally posted by: tigertatzen
a reply to: TrueAmerican

How serious are they about attempting this??

They already started it, got stopped, but now it's back on.


If they don't even know for certain what is lurking under there, how can they have any real confidence that they can contain it??


They can't. Although I don't think the idea is to contain it, per se. What they are after is to see if from core samples they can gain further insight into when it might erupt again. Maybe help establish some type of more verifiable eruption cycle through strata evidence. And even then, that would still not help us much, because volcanoes are notorious for breaking perceived "eruption cycles." Even after a cyclical pattern has been observed, often they just go off out of nowhere- completely out of "cycle."

This is akin in some ways to the argument for and against sending out to the universe probes which give away our position in space. It is a huge risk, to all of humanity, based upon utterly ridiculous assumptions. In this case, one set of people are again making a decision that could affect all of us in the pursuit of further knowledge that is just not worth the risk. A long term relocation project to move people away from that caldera would be much more beneficial, and they could leave the darn thing alone for the most part after that.


edit on Tue Dec 27th 2016 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 27 2016 @ 12:15 PM
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That figures... Europe waits till I am living their to go full Potato..

I really cant wait to move out of this crazy area.



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