Yellowstone has been a hot topic lately, but we are not here to discuss the show. The Yellowstone we are here to discuss is the Yellowstone Caldera, which is a supervolcano that could one day erupt and bring Earth to its knees.
The Yellowstone Caldera is found in Yellowstone National Park, among the hot springs and geysers, and is a sleeping beast of a supervolcano. NASA has stated previously that a supervolcano is one of the biggest natural threats to our planet and our species, it’s such a threat that it is more of a threat than the presence of asteroids.
So, NASA began working on a rather ambitious plan to ensure the volcano remains asleep. In a BBC report, NASA proposes a spending plan of around 3.46 billion dollars for this endeavor.
They intend to drill into the volcano from the lower sides, which can be found outside the National Park. According to the BBC report, this would keep the immense heat from making its way to the top of the chamber of the volcano.
Once they finish drilling, they pump water into the volcano and back out at high pressures to cool it down. “Yellowstone currently leaks around 6GW in heat,” Brian Wilcox, a researcher from NASA told the BBC. “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.”
While the cost of this plan is quite steep, Wilcox says it’s a price worth paying,
“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,” he noted. “And the long-term benefit is that you prevent a future supervolcano eruption which would devastate humanity.”