NASA Unveils Plan To Stop Yellowstone "Supervolcano" Eruption, There's Just One Catch

Tyler Durden's picture

A NASA plan to stop the Yellowstone supervolcano from erupting, could actually cause it to blow... triggering a nuclear winter that would wipe out humanity.

As we have detailed recently, government officials have been closely monitoring the activity in the Yellowstone caldera.

However, as's Mac Slavo details, scientists at NASA have now come up with an incredibly risky plan to save the United States from the super volcano.

A NASA scientist has spoken out about the true threat of super volcanoes and the risky methods that could be used to prevent a devastating eruption. Lying beneath the tranquil and beautiful settings of Yellowstone National Park in the US lies an enormous magma chamber, called a caldera. It’s responsible for the geysers and hot springs that define the area, but for scientists at NASA, it’s also one of the greatest natural threats to human civilization as we know it.

Brian Wilcox, a former member of the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense, shared a report on the natural hazard that hadn’t been seen outside of the agency until now. Following an article published by BBC about super volcanoes last month, a group of NASA researchers got in touch with the media to share a report previously unseen outside the space agency about the threat Yellowstone poses, and what they hypothesize could possibly be done about it.

“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,” explains Brian Wilcox of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology.  


“I came to the conclusion during that study that the supervolcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.”

Yellowstone currently leaks about 60 to 70 percent of its heat into the atmosphere through stream water which seeps into the magma chamber through cracks, while the rest of the heat builds up as magma and dissolves into volatile gasses. The heat and pressure will reach the threshold, meaning an explosion is inevitable. When NASA scientists considered the fact that a super volcano’s eruption would plunge the earth into a volcanic winter, destroying most sources of food, starvation would then become a real possibility.  Food reserves would only last about 74 days, according to the UN, after an eruption of a super volcano, like that under Yellowstone.  And they have devised a risky plan that could end up blowing up in their faces.  Literally.

Wilcox hypothesized that if enough heat was removed, and the temperature of the super volcano dropped, it would never erupt. But he wants to see a 35% decrease in temperature, and how to achieve that, is incredibly risky. One possibility is to simply increase the amount of water in the supervolcano. As it turns to steam. the water would release the heat into the atmosphere, making global warming alarmists tremble.

“Building a big aqueduct uphill into a mountainous region would be both costly and difficult, and people don’t want their water spent that way,” Wilcox says. “People are desperate for water all over the world and so a major infrastructure project, where the only way the water is used is to cool down a supervolcano, would be very controversial.”

So, NASA came up with an alternative plan. They believe the most viable solution could be to drill up to 10km down into the super volcano and pump down water at high pressure. The circulating water would return at a temperature of around 350C (662F), thus slowly day by day extracting heat from the volcano. And while such a project would come at an estimated cost of around $3.46 billion, it comes with an enticing catch which could convince politicians (taxpayers) to make the investment.

“Yellowstone currently leaks around 6GW in heat,” Wilcox says. “Through drilling in this way, it could be used to create a geothermal plant, which generates electric power at extremely competitive prices of around $0.10/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.”

Of course, drilling into a super volcano comes with its own risks, like the eruption that scientists are desperate to prevent. Triggering an eruption by drilling would be disastrous.

“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” Wilcox says.


“If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber which would otherwise not be released.”

The cooling of Yellowstone in this manner would also take tens of thousands of years, but it is a plan that scientists at NASA are considering for every super volcano on earth.

“When people first considered the idea of defending the Earth from an asteroid impact, they reacted in a similar way to the supervolcano threat,” Wilcox says.


“People thought, ‘As puny as we are, how can humans possibly prevent an asteroid from hitting the Earth.’ Well, it turns out if you engineer something which pushes very slightly for a very long time, you can make the asteroid miss the Earth. So the problem turns out to be easier than people think. In both cases it requires the scientific community to invest brain power and you have to start early. But Yellowstone explodes roughly every 600,000 years, and it is about 600,000 years since it last exploded, which should cause us to sit up and take notice.

So what would happen?

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effendi's picture

Putting a few holes down isn't any different to the fissures that nature puts in. The difference is that mother nature doesn't give a F about the consequences (like the fissure being under a city or realeasing way too much pressure in a blow off). At least the engineers can plan the drill holes (just like in Iceland with all its geothermal plants) and the extracted water would make for a nice water park (just like many natural thermal springs are around the world).

MANvsMACHINE's picture

Rather than drill down into the magma chamber, how about drill from the other side of the earth. Let's ask the Chinese if they'd mind us dropping a few very long drill bits into their land.

Low-Withers's picture

Winter water Park!!
Who gets the development rights? Disney?
My guess is the bankers have already stolen it from Satan.
I think I smell Brimstone, CIA and Elon Musk.

tmosley's picture

Your problem is that you are an ignorant retard but still feel like you are entitled to an opinion. People like you (IE niggers) should not be allowed to vote. Basic IQ test.

If a little shaft making a hole could cause an eruption, there would be no life on Earth because there would be no end to the eruptions. Luckily, what actually happens is the liquid magma turns to solid rock when it cools, making it such that any hole, ESPECIALLY tiny artificial ones, will always be self sealing. ERUPTIONS are caused by a buildup of gasses, as the article says. If the artificial shaft is breached, some water will flash to steam, but nowhere near enough to cause a problem. There will be a local blowout at the pumping station, maybe killing a couple of workers, then the shaft will be filled with magma, which will cool to solid rock in seconds.

JRobby's picture

You need a rest.

Is it the eclipse?

Philthy_Stacker's picture

"People like you..."

FUCK YOU for that comment. The rest was pretty accurate.

You're sort of intelligent for a piece of shit. An IQ test would only ensure the intelligentsia's full control of humanity, which may seem like a benevolent opportunity. Would you support your high school science teachers if they ran the world?

You might seem smart on the surface ... but 'yuuz a dumb motherfucker' if you think that high IQs are the 'cutoff'.
We all say stupid shit occasionally. Case in point, your comment about race/IQ.

Cheers to free speech you fuckin' cunt.

tmosley's picture

Hahahaha, dat butthurt tho.

Idaho potato head's picture

Um let's see, when you introduce water to a super hot heat source what happens? Steam! When steam expands what happens? 

Ah those Nasa geniuses, maybe the next human experiment will be more successful....

tmosley's picture

They aren't going to be pumping down tremendous amounts of water at a time. The worst that can happen is all the steam in the pipe flashes at once, blowing up the pumping station and killing a few workers. If the tube get penetrated by magma, it will seal itself up very quickly.

flapdoodle's picture

Except the fine jet of superheated steam mixed with rock fragments acts just like a sandblaster on the walls of the "tiny hole" making it bigger, which uses a now larger jet of superheated steam mixed with rock fragments to act just like a sandblaster on the walls of the "medium sized hole" making it even bigger...

One of the most effective saws that exists is a water jet saw with silicon particles...

tmosley's picture

Where is all the steam going to come from? They are pumping water in. If it flashes, it won't be pumped in any more.

And there won't be rock chips for long. I don't think you understand how hot magma is. It's so hot the "rocks" liquify. It will plug the tube as they cool.

If the world worked the way you think it works, the Earth wouldn't be liquid beneath the crust, having lost all its heat eons ago. Lava tubes exist, and they stop flowing before long for the reason I laid out.

Bazinga's picture

Real useful commentary idiot.

Dubaibanker's picture

Playing with nature, eh?

Since when was this included in the job description of the Govt?

yogibear's picture

So all North Korea's Un would have to do is set off a couple of nukes to crack the Magma dome?

nmewn's picture

Well at least they didn't "draw up plans" to detonate a nuclear device there to "relieve the pressure". 

So I guess we can be thankful for that!

Mr. Universe's picture

Well that's the white house and military option in case the NASA guys can't drill to 900 feet.

nmewn's picture

Well, none they've admitted to

Thats probably "phase two" after they successfully plug the natural vents by screwing around with shit they don't fully understand by injecting water ;-)

MozartIII's picture

So this is from the best and brightest from NASA??? Oh my.

seataka's picture

theres a reason Nasa doesnt have anti-grav


HRClinton's picture

Why don't they pump the hot air from DC into it also, to counter global warming?

cynicalskeptic's picture

They have to justify building all those deep underground bunkers for the 'continuity of government' types to ride out the apocalypse...... 

ergo.... there's a need to CREATE an apocalypse.....   if nothing else, government is sure good at creating messes.

Bigern's picture

They do this to condition the populace. This announcement is communicating that conditions are expected to develop into something out of human control. The "authorities" are attempting to plant the idea that they have it all under control, and a little eruption may be a good thing for releasing pressure. That way when it does pop, the people will not panic, being pre-marinated in Yellowstone propaganda. 

In addition, the "authorities" are planting these stories to preempt the emergence of something else. All eyes will be on the Yellowstone project when a plethora of other phenomenon begin. The American Meteor Society have some eye opening data that analyzed reveal a portion of what is coming.

Bigern's picture

They do this to condition the populace. This announcement is communicating that conditions are expected to develop into something out of human control. The "authorities" are attempting to plant the idea that they have it all under control, and a little eruption may be a good thing for releasing pressure. That way when it does pop, the people will not panic, being pre-marinated in Yellowstone propaganda. 

In addition, the "authorities" are planting these stories to preempt the emergence of something else. All eyes will be on the Yellowstone project when a plethora of other phenomenon begin. The American Meteor Society have some eye opening data that analyzed reveal a portion of what is coming.

Offthebeach's picture

BP wins drill contract.

Haliburton gets option, cost plus, on any "clean up".

Nothing's picture

Water vapor is the number one greenhouse gas .... did they forget to tell you this?

post turtle saver's picture

more doom porn from ZH *fap fap fap*

The Greek horse's picture

Between the super volcano in Yellowstone park with the Smart man of NASA trying to stop it and the brilliant invention ( SARCASM)  Cern hydro collider  in Switzerland These scientist need to get the head out of the ASS first before its too late.. the Fucking arrogance of these Humans trying to play GOD..

Katos's picture


The Boognish's picture

This NASA dumbfuck doesn't know how volcanoes work. The caldera is a symptom, not a cause. Volcanic calderas can fill and drain without causing eruptions. The actual force driving the eruption is so far under the Earth's crust we can't understand the mechanics of it. We could turn the entire caldera into solid stone and it would not prevent an eruption. If the forces in the earth need to vent, they will vent. 

Sticking your finger in the barrel of a gun will not even be noticed by the bullet. This guy should change his name to Elmer Fudd. 

... crumbs's picture

nuttin' to see here folks


keep shopping

Tulak's picture

That is why evryone like to suck the money from government!


geologyguy's picture

Whenever the government is involved with something, you should run the other way. Sadly, when GovCo is involved in everything, where do you run?

This is unsettling.

you_are_cleared_hot's picture

What could POSSIBLY go wrong???

you_are_cleared_hot's picture

Remember growing up, there was this kid who poked a bee's nest with a stick, or threw a rock at it...yeah, this is that same thing!

nmewn's picture

Everyone realizes these people are insane right?

Just checking ;-)

DaBard51's picture

Damned, if you do.  Damned, if you don't.

Take your choice.



When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

... crumbs's picture

problem is - you don't get to choose

... crumbs's picture

problem is - you don't get to choose

Andre's picture

That's called a "steam explosion".

Not the best idea, but totally in keeping with "post modern" science. It's not about facts, it's about feelings....

Gen. Ripper's picture

Blow that bitch now - I've had enough

Tulak's picture

Fake 45 president BIGLY will fix his!

HarryKallahan's picture




Are these the same A-holes that drilled into Mount Saint Helens ?


nmewn's picture

Not sure but they are "cousins" to the EPA who "improved" a simple berm in Colorado turning the Animas River yellow and contaminating everyones drinking water down stream.

So nothing to worry about with them tinkering around with a SUPER VOLCANO...they got this no problem, just ask em, they'll tell ya ;-)

GoinFawr's picture

Ever wonder why it is that as far as you're concerned the private company's mgt. actually responsible for walking away from that mess in the first place, and won't be putting a dime towards cleaning it up, doesn't even warrant an honourable mention in the whole affair?


But you just keep focusing on exploiting any perceived failings in those actually working to protect your personal, individual interests, and I'll continue to wish you all the 'dilution is the solution' that you can stomach.


nmewn's picture

Are you smoking crack? 


There was no "perceived failing" GoinFawr, they made it fail, then claimed "sovereign immunity" for the damage they caused. The EPA literally showed up with a backhoe and in reality made it fail.  

Twisted little fuck.