The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said they want to drill into the Yellowstone supervolcano in the hopes to save the planet from an impending eruption. This massive volcano could cause a greater catastrophe than any asteroid or comet.
The Yellowstone National Park lies on top of a vast, ancient and active volcano. The extreme heat pours off its underground magma chamber. It’s responsible for the geysers and more than 10,000 hot springs in the area.
The Yellowstone Park is about 3,500 square miles that sits atop an active volcano.
But for scientists, this unimaginable heat could be the greatest natural threat to humans. The supervolcano beneath the Yellowstone National Park erupts every 600,000 years. It has been about 600,000 years since it last erupted.
Brian Wilcox of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) told BBC Future:
“I was a member of the Nasa Advisory Council on Planetary Defense which studied ways for Nasa to defend the planet from asteroids and comets.”
“I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.”
NASA scientists found a logical solution to save the planet – simply cool the supervolcano down. Apparently, a supervolcano’s heat is equivalent to about six industrial power plants. At present, Yellowstone leaks approximately 60 to 70 percent of the heat through water, which seeps into the magma chamber via cracks.
NASA releases a thermal image of the Yellowstone Park with the higher heat released in white areas.
Once the heat reaches its maximum level, an eruption is inevitable. However, according to IflScience, magma is only eruptive when it’s molten to a certain degree. The scientists agreed to reduce the magma heat by 35 percent to prevent a supervolcanic eruption in the near future.
Most of the Yellowstone Park is found in Wyoming, with some areas found in Montana and Idaho.
They want to do this by drilling into the supervolcano’s massive magma source and pump high-pressure water through it. The water comes back up to a temperature of 662 degrees Fahrenheit or 350 degrees Celcius.
This procedure, though done slowly and gradually, would extract heat from the volcano.
Yellowstone features lush forests, dramatic canyons, hot springs and geysers, including the popular Old Faithful.
Aside from saving the planet from an impending doom, NASA scientists propose to use the heated water as a source of geothermal energy. This energy is strong enough to power up the entire Yellowstone area.
Will the risky plan of NASA to drill into the Yellowstone Park save the world?
NASA hopes the plan pushes through. Besides, it’s only a matter of time before the supervolcano erupts. If the plan is successful, the procedure could pave the way to stop other supervolcanoes from erupting across the globe.