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Will Bombing Volcano's Stop Them?.....We've Tried

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posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:21 AM

Why would you ever bomb a volcano?

Bombing a volcano to stop an eruption is frankly impossible due to the depth of the magma chamber and anything short of a nuke would ineffective and even the nuclear option would come with it's own set of problems however the Air Force has attempted to divert lava flows through the use of bombing.

Many people forget that the Big Island in Hawai`i is home to not just one active volcano (Kilauea), but three - Hualalai and Mauna Loa (and even Mauna Kea, although it likely hasn't erupted in a few thousand years). In fact, Mauna Loa was very active during the middle of the 20th century and erupted as recently as 1984. Mauna Loa is a much larger threat to the people of the Big Island as well - the northeast Rift Zone of the volcano is close to the city of Hilo (see map below), there have been times when lava flows from Mauna Loa threatened the city, its water supply or ecologically-fragile rain forests on the slopes of the volcano.

Lockwood and Torgerson (1980) is an excellent look at what happens when you try to bomb a volcano with active ordnance to attempt to divert lava flows. In fact, as early as 1881 has the idea of using man-made explosions to stop lava flows been suggested at Mauna Loa. The U.S. has tried to bomb Mauna Loa while it was erupting at least twice in the last 100 years and a series of tests were run in the 1970s to determine the best course of action if lava flows from Mauna Loa threatened Hilo again. Overall, it appears that in limited situations, targeted bombing campaigns on vulnerable parts of the volcano - mainly spatter cones that are the source of lava tubes high on the slopes of Mauna Loa - might cause sufficient diversion as to prevent lava flows from reaching Hilo.

Here is a link to a short clip of an Air Force bombing attempt in 1935,

The study came to some conclusions that I hadn't really considering when it comes to bombing lava flows, especially in Hawai`i. On the plus side, many times lava flows near the summit area at Mauna Loa occur on government lands, so bombing could occur without disruption of private property. Also, bombing the flow to divert lava is a relatively low cost endeavor, especially relative to the cost of lava flows reaching populated area. However, on the negative side, bombing Hawaiian volcanoes is bound to cause native Hawaiians some consternation as the bombing could be perceived as an affront to Pele. In a more practical sense, not all eruptions will have obvious vulnerable spots to bottom and indiscriminate bombing of lava flows could have unintended effects.

So while dropping a nuke on a volcano in hopes of stopping an eruption is not plausible it is within reason for the military to work with volcanologists to determine the correct spot to possibly divert the outgoing lava.

posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:26 AM
Since the US detonated nukes in space, and the russians used nukes to shut down oil wells, nothing surprises me...


posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:30 AM

No parking in the red zone.. k?

posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:33 AM
Yeah, let's see them bomb Yellowstone or Long Valley when it finally goes off. Talk about a mess!

posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:43 AM
reply to post by TrueAmerican

I believe our country has an obession with bombing and sometimes just feels the need to drop em on anything to see what might happen.

posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:45 AM
but what bout drilling in a couple spots to release pressure? we try that yet? seems like it could be mor efficient than bombing.

or imagine that we make permanent "vents" that could take away the explosive power and be used as geothermal energy at the same time. but it doesnt surprise me that we would try bombing the problem first

posted on Aug, 27 2011 @ 09:53 AM
if the volcano was near the coast would it not be better to try and channel the flow to the sea .
they could bulldoze a deep channel fromthe volcano to the sea and then with a small charge blow a way into the lava .
they could even gain more land from this , it could even be carried out before any signs of activity as a preventive measure .

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