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ragingloli's avatar

How would you permanently kill and seal a volcano, using current science but with unlimited resources at your disposal?

Asked by ragingloli (52069points) February 16th, 2021

Since Etna is currently erupting.

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9 Answers

kritiper's avatar

You could drop a mega mega ton hydrogen bomb down it’s throat but I don’t think it would be possible since you are dealing with a weak spot in the Earth’s crust. (You know, the old “Irresistible force meets immovable object” thing.)

Darth_Algar's avatar

You wouldn’t.

sadiesayit's avatar

Unlimited, you say?

Maybe there could be a way to inject enough solid or liquid nitrogen into the near-surface magma to chill it down to solid and thicken the crust in that area back up? (Or any sufficiently cold material, doesn’t have to be cold nitrogen).

Zaku's avatar

@kritper The bomb would do more damage than the eruption, and if anything it would spread the eruption rather than “kill” it. It may even be a more wrong-minded idea than “let’s nuke the hurricane”.

Unless you’re talking about just diverting a minor lava flow, I don’t think there’s much to be done about volcanoes other than predicting their activity and moving away from them when they’re active in a dangerous way.

Zaku's avatar

Consulting NUKEMAP, which only goes up to 100 megaton nuclear explosions, such a bomb exploding on the surface of Mt. Etna would immediately kill about 241,000 people, and injure over half a million more. NUKEMAP doesn’t attempt to estimate deaths and injuries from radioactive fallout, but it does offer a map showing that many many more people in a much larger area would be dead within a month from radiation poisoning, probably (it projects) in southern Italy, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria, and even more dead, dying, and/or cancer-ridden for years to come.

And again, no helpful effects as far as “killing” the volcano. If anything, you’d be sending now-radioactive magma flying much farther than it was going before, and I imagine encouraging more geologic activity rather than discouraging it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

unlimited resources. I’d encourage the flow to head a lava stream processing plant and use the heat energy to make power and/or hydrogen.gas for transportation. I would also pass the flow through large inductive fields to separate out some precious elements and materials we can use. The remaining lava would be used to make building materials like bricks. The brick production rate would necessarily be tremendous and it would require a large distribution system in place before turning on the plant.

kritiper's avatar

@Zaku I think I covered that…

Zaku's avatar

I don’t think you did.

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