When you think about the most terrible catastrophes of our time, the first thing that comes to mind is the fall of the asteroid or the Third World War. However, according to NASA, there is something much worse than an asteroid. And it hides right under our feet: it's super volcanoes.
Around the world are scattered about 20 supervolcanoes and they are all like a time bomb or powder keg in the basement. NASA claims that the eruption of even one of them will put an end to humanity much faster than an asteroid. Fortunately, the agency has a plan
Under the Yellowstone National Park in the United States lies a huge rift of 50 to 75 kilometers, filled with red-hot magma. If this volcano erupts, it will throw hundreds of cubic kilometers of molten material, scorching everything around for 100 kilometers and covering Wyoming and the surrounding states with five meters of volcanic ash.
However, this destruction will not end. Dust and gases thrown out during the eruption will close the sun and sink the world into a "volcanic winter" that will last many years and kill millions of people.
Although this is unlikely to happen in the next few decades, scientists note that one day it will happen, and they are developing a plan to neutralize the Yellowstone super volcano and its explosive potential.
In the plan that first appeared on the BBC, the team voiced that it can prevent the eruption by sucking the heat out of the fault and turning geothermal energy into electricity. In hot rocks through the well, it is possible to pump water, which will return to the surface in the form of steam. Due to this, the steam can unscrew turbines and generate electricity.
After cooling, the water can be pumped again underground to extract more heat.
"The main goal is to gradually neutralize Yellowstone, to save humanity from the threat," says Dr. Brian Wilcox, aerospace engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Although it is unlikely that Yellowstone will be able to pay off in the near future, the team hopes that their idea will raise a discussion on the topic of super volcanoes.
"The explosion of these super volcanoes will lead to the death of 99% of humanity, so their containment seems a reasonable topic for discussion," he adds.