PDA

View Full Version : First Contact With Inner Earth


rowanlim
20-12-08, 13:26
I don't know about you guys but this is pretty exciting :p

A drilling crew recently cracked through rock layers deep beneath Hawaii and accidentally became the first humans known to have drilled into magma—the melted form of rock that sometimes erupts to the surface as lava—in its natural environment, scientists announced this week.

"This is an unprecedented discovery," said Bruce Marsh, a volcanologist from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, who will be studying the find.

Normally, he said, volcanologists have to do "postmortem studies" of long-solidified magmas or study active lava during volcanic eruptions.

But this time they'd found magma in its natural environment—something Marsh described as nearly as exciting as a paleontologist finding a dinosaur frolicking on a remote island.

"This is my Jurassic Park," he said at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

First Contact

The find was made 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) underground during exploratory drilling for geothermal energy.

The crew hit something unusual during routine operations at the Puna Geothermal Venture, owned by Ormat Technologies, Inc., of Reno, Nevada.

When the workers tried to resume drilling, they discovered that magma had risen about 25 feet (8 meters) up the pipe they'd inserted.

The rock solidified into a clear glassy substance, apparently because it chilled quickly after hitting groundwater.

Scientists had long known that magma chambers must lie in the vicinity of the drill site. The drilling was being conducted for an existing geothermal power plant built to harvest heat from the world's most active volcanic zone, Kilauea volcano, which has been spewing lava continuously since 1983.

Don Thomas, a geochemist from the University of Hawaii's Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes, said it was just a matter of time until some drilling operation there struck hot magma.

Source (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/12/081217-drilling-first-magma.html)

All these time I only read about the layers of the Earth's crust in books & magazines but for them to ACTUALLY reach that layer is both amazing & scary :p

~*~Chloe~*~
20-12-08, 13:32
That's amazing! I didn't think they'd even survive that heat!

ShadyCroft
20-12-08, 13:38
That is amazing! :D but so dangerous.

I'm no expert, but what if the magma became really active ? They said that it had risen in the pipe they were using.

tombraiderluka
20-12-08, 13:41
Wow, great! :D

rowanlim
20-12-08, 13:41
That is amazing! :D but so dangerous.

I'm no expert, but what if the magma became really active ? They said that it had risen in the pipe they were using.

Yeah that's scary right? I wonder how the pipe survived the heat! :p

siouxsiecrux
20-12-08, 14:14
It depends upon the heat of the magma, and/or the material used for piping.

Hopefully they will be able to do studies into the magma and find out more.

ShadyCroft
20-12-08, 15:29
I wonder how the pipe survived the heat!

I wonder the same thing. :confused: Maybe the pipe is made of a powerful element, diamonds or something.

irjudd
20-12-08, 16:20
Super neat! Won't be long before they try to come up with a way to use magma as a fuel source and deplete it all and the Earth totally dies :p

siouxsiecrux
20-12-08, 16:32
Super neat! Won't be long before they try to come up with a way to use magma as a fuel source and deplete it all and the Earth totally dies :p

:ton: I highly doubt that, but to grasps the power of the heat would be a very good fuel source. Although doing this is another matter.

irjudd
20-12-08, 16:34
:ton: I highly doubt that, but to grasps the power of the heat would be a very good fuel source. Although doing this is another matter.
Yes and I'll bet our ancestors would have scoffed at the idea of drilling for invisible gas to power our stoves :ton:

rowanlim
20-12-08, 16:38
@irjudd: I think they are using magma indirectly, via geothermal energy? Where the heat is used to, er, heat up water, generate steam & ta-da electricity :p