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Earth Science

Hot Water, Hot Earth 236

Posted by kdawson
from the global-warming-not-implicated dept.
Calopteryx notes a New Scientist article on the discovery of "supercritical" water emerging from a vent in the Atlantic Ocean at 407 deg. C (765 deg. F). One of its discoverers actually said, "It's water, but not as we know it"; it's the hottest water ever found on earth. The cause seems to be a huge bubble of magma beneath the ocean floor, 3 km below the sea surface. Meanwhile Nymz shares a journal entry on a hot spot on land: a 2-acre patch in Ventura county, in California, that has heated up to 433 deg. C (812 deg. F). Here geologists blame buried hydrocarbons burning as they get access to air through cracks in the ground. That high temperature was measured a foot below the ground surface.
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Hot Water, Hot Earth

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  • by RayMarron (657336) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:15PM (#24487121) Homepage

    Burning hydrocarbons?! Sounds like a good place to put a combo drill/refinery/gas station!

    • Joking aside, I wonder how difficult/reliable it would be to harness that energy.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:21PM (#24487253)
        Pretty difficult I'd imagine, since that sort of thing always seems to attract the attention of deep sea monsters.
      • by philspear (1142299) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:33PM (#24487431)

        Well, in "There will be blood" they were able to get oil from a well that was gushing out oil, on fire ABOVE ground, by using a cool battering ram thing with a steel drum that had a bunch of dynamite in it. Push it up to the geyser of fire, it explodes, I guess it either disperses all the oxygen or maybe just the high-temperature gasses, and voila, you have just a regular old oil spout, not flaming, ready to be tapped.

        So

        1. Push a bomb into the ground
        2. Blow it up
        3. ???
        4. Drink a milkshake.

        • Re:Start drillin'! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Noexit (107629) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:36PM (#24487481) Homepage

          Everything you need to know about oil well fires. http://www.redadair.com/ [redadair.com]

          • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:34PM (#24488203) Journal

            Damn, that's a cool name, "Red Adair." With a name like that, you practically have to get into some kind of hero business.

            • by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:28PM (#24490173) Homepage Journal
              That reminds me of an old joke:

              There's this oil fire going on, so they call Red Adair up and ask him how much it will cost to put it out. Red, being the world-famous guy that he is, rattles off a number that's much too expensive, so they end up going with one of his cheaper competitors.

              So, these guys show up, get briefed, and then proceed directly in their truck right to the heart of the fire. There they stop, and all the guys jump out and start stamping on the fire with their feet! They do this long enough, and what do you know, they put the fire out.

              Of course, the oil guys are just completely awestruck, and ask the heard fire chief guy if they're off to celebrate another job well done. The head fire chief guy replies "Hell no. First thing we're going to do is fix the brakes on the truck."
        • Re:Start drillin'! (Score:5, Informative)

          by drik00 (526104) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:59PM (#24487807) Homepage

          Yeah, that's how they still put out oil well fires. However, if you ever seen oil "gushing" these days, that's a huge, huge problem. That stuff only happened back pre-1950's or so when they use "spudders" to drill without significant drilling fluid. These days, using rotary drilling, such heavy "mud" is used while drilling that blow-outs should never occur, as they can obviously be ridiculously dangerous.

          I, personally, can't wait for Al Gore to propose a new tax because the earth is burning its own petroleum without any heed to environmental impact. SHAAAAAAAAAAAME, SHAAAAAAAME!

          J

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Samah (729132)
            I doubt he'll have time. He's still searching for Manbearpig.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Muad'Dave (255648)
            That 'heavy mud' is made of Bentonite [wikipedia.org], usually sodium Bentonite, along with other additives such as barite [wikipedia.org] to make it denser.
        • Re:Start drillin'! (Score:5, Informative)

          by snowraver1 (1052510) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:02PM (#24487835)
          It works two ways. Firstly it causes a break in the flow of oil, and secondly it uses much of the available oxygen. There are other ways to but out a well fire:

          Dousing with copious amounts of water
          Raising the plume- Inserting one metal casing 30 to 40 feet high over the well head (thus raising the flame above the ground). Liquid nitrogen or water is then forced in at the bottom to reduce the oxygen supply and put out the fire.
          Drill relief wells to redirect the oil and make the fire smaller (and easier to extinguish with water).
          Using a jet engine to direct high pressure water and air over the well.
          Using dynamite to 'blow out' the fire by blasting fuel and oxygen from the flame and consuming oxygen in the combustion. This was one of the earliest effective methods and is still widely used. The first use was by Myron Kinley's father in California in 1913
          Dry Chemical (mainly Purple K) can be used on small well fires such as those in refineries.

          The above was stolen from wikipedia (duh!) and there is actually a page for oil well fires:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_well_fire [wikipedia.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by olyar (591892)

        The area in Ventura County where this is happening is pretty close to where there are already quite a few oil pumps. A large chunk of the land alongside the highway going from Ventura toward Fillmore (the hotspot is North of Fillmore) is owned by some oil company.

        The offramps indicate that it's Shell, but it may have changed hands since the roads were named.

        My point is that some oil company already has a pretty strong presence in the area, so maybe it wouldn't be as difficult as you think. On the oth

        • The offramps indicate that it's Shell, but it may have changed hands since the roads were named.

          I think you're thinking of Shell Road, which is one of the "major" exits when you're travelling north on the way to Ojai. I say "major" because the area, like all areas where there's oil drilling, is essentially a no man's land.

          I'm going by memory here, but I believe the first oil well in California was drilled in in the same vicinity (Sulphur Mountain) in the mid to late 1800s by a railroad magnate by the name

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:15PM (#24487123)
    Pfffft. Sounds like a bunch of hot air to me.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:16PM (#24487135) Journal
    I think I saw a special about black smokers [wikipedia.org] on TV, I believe they were discovered in 1977 and I remember watching an interview of miniature sub (Alvin) pilot explaining that his temperature sensor melted when they came upon one of them and he decided to get a reading. If I recall the anecdote correctly, they were slowly drifting toward it as his friend explained to him that the hull of their craft was made of the same metal as the thermometer. He then very carefully began to operate the propellers in reverse.

    I think it was even back then that speculation began of life starting around this geothermal energy. That these minerals only populated the sea and made for nutrient rich sea water in which life could propagate.

    The only news here is that the 400 ÂC has been passed on record. I think everyone knew these could get insanely hot.
    • by Lord Apathy (584315) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:22PM (#24487275)

      I've often wondered how difficult it would be to harness for a energy source. The water around these vents is supposed to be 500+ degrees. The way I'm thinking there should some kind of chimney effect as the water is heated it should rise. By tapping into the heat of this rising water we should be able to extract the energy with out damaging the ecosystem around the vent.

      • by Teun (17872) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:06PM (#24488535) Homepage
        The biggest problem is probably the great depth at which the installation needs to be build and the distance it would be from the customer.

        Especially after the 1973 energy crisis a lot of experiments have been done around the world to harness this Geothermal energy.

        For example in Italy near the famous Vesuvius, Campi Flegreii, a couple of wells were drilled (between 1200 and 2000 m. deep) and the natural aquifers produced successfully.

        The problem that eventually killed the project was that this superheated water and steam (250-350 degC) carried lots of very nasty impurities like sulphurous compounds and Arsenic.

        Of the typical 25-35 mega Watts produced only 5 were actually available after proper disposal of the pollutants.

        Of course using natural fumaroles like they do in for example Iceland and Japan is an entirely different matter.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:39PM (#24487521)
      It was Alvin [wikipedia.org], and the concern was the windows were made of plexiglas rather than quartz. Looks like Google Books has an excerpt of the page [google.com].
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:16PM (#24487141)

    Buy an electric car TODAY people! That petrol is causing the ocean to heat up... Wait, what? Magma? Really? Wasn't that around before we invented cars?

    Hang on folks, I'll have to get back to you...

    • Someone dumped their Honda Magna with a full tank of gas and it is still burning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Magna [wikipedia.org]
    • by Yvan256 (722131) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:17PM (#24488017) Homepage Journal

      Buy a magma car!

    • by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:18PM (#24488031) Homepage

      You do realize that there's a difference between the roles of natural cycles, and millions of people burning hydrocarbons right?

      Perhaps I should explain. If I put a 100 pound weight on one side of scale and 100 pounds of gold on the other the scale should stay balanced right? I mean assuming this is scale is working like a scale should. Now suppose I put just one ounce of gold extra on the scale. It's just one ounce of gold right? Compared to the 100 pounds that's like a shaving. Shouldn't make much difference, but now the scale's off balance.

      That's what's going on in the world. Sure all these natural cycles are inputs. And what we humans do may be dwarfed by the natural cycles. But the natural cycles were more or less balanced (at least on a human time scale). In the past hundred years or so we've added quite a bit of extra input to one side of the scale. What we've added is minuscule compared to the natural cycles, but remember this is a balance that we're monkeying with. And the stakes are high enough that we might want to err on the side of caution.

      • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdotNO@SPAMpitabred.dyndns.org> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:37PM (#24488227) Homepage

        You're making two HUGE assumptions. One, that it acts like a scale (which is somewhat plausible), and two, that nature won't add to the 100 pound weight. Or subtract from the gold. Or move some of the gold off the scale. Or... you get my drift.

      • by wellingj (1030460)
        Yea we wouldn't want to turn out like the non-carbon neutral dinosaurs... they all died because they messed up their environment [wikipedia.org]
        • by tthomas48 (180798)

          "But the natural cycles were more or less balanced (at least on a human time scale)."

          I'm not saying that the cycles won't tilt. I'm just saying that we'd be best to try to keep them balanced lest we end up like the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs had a good run and all, but it was a different planet then. For one, there weren't tons of dinosaurs compressed into liquid fuel being burned into the atmosphere.

        • by ardle (523599)
          Are you saying "why bother"? Just checking ;-)
          Good read, that - looks more like their environment messed them up. Natural selection: they weren't expecting any of that stuff to happen!
      • by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:15PM (#24488667)

        what a bullshit notion, that nature or the earth is in balance. The earth has been far, far hotter and far far colder and far, far wetter and far, far drier in the past. Even the Sahara dessert was heavily vegetated not even 12,000 years ago. The oceans have been rising since the last ice age.

        • by tthomas48 (180798) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:29PM (#24488817) Homepage

          What part of time scale of humankind do you people have a problem with? I realize that the earth swings wildly over the geological record. If catastrophic climate change happens over the next 12,000 years humans might be able to adapt pretty easily. If it happens over the next 70 we might have a bigger problem. In the range of a human lifetime (give or take 70 years) the earth stays pretty balanced (up until recently).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rubycodez (864176)

            catastrophic climate changes have occurred in very short time periods, less than the 12,000 years you posit. It is inevitable that there will be more from entirely natural causes and people and ecosystems will die.

        • by Atario (673917)

          And our technologically-dependent civilization has been through which of those big changes? Oh, right, none.

      • by sjs132 (631745)

        "Zinnng"

        That was the sound of the joke from the parent post you replied to, flying past your inflated head.

        Get a life...

      • You are right. It is a balance. But there is some built-in stability. A better analogy is that you made a balance scale by placing a ruler over a coffee cup. the pivot point is now wide and the scale can withstand some in-balance. But only so much. We can argue abut the shape of the pivot and how much stability of creates

      • by Obfuscant (592200) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:59PM (#24489847)
        (at least on a human time scale)

        That's the key phrase. On a human time scale things have been very calm.

        On a geological time scale, things have been very very very active. Cold, hot, cold, hot. Glaciers, volcanoes. We don't even know all that has happened because we simply haven't been here keeping records for all that time.

        We can guess what happened, but it's only a guess, and depends on many assumptions that cannot be verified independently. (For example, CO2 cannot possibly diffuse out of a trapped gas bubble in an ice core over thousands or tens of thousands of years, right? How big a surprise is it to some people that solid water can simply evaporate even while frozen solid?)

        We do know that things have been much different in the past. We are fools to assume that the only 'right' way for the earth to be is how it is now. Or a decade ago. And yet, fools build houses on sandbars all the time. Expensive houses. And then demand that the government do something when nature changes. Just like we are demanding action when nature changes climate, like it has for billions of years prior to us.

        The climate is not a zero sum game. Putting an ounce of gold on one side doesn't mean the system won't react (and we know it will) to restore balance.

        But then, a 100 pound lead weight on one side doesn't balance a 100 pound gold weight on the other in the first place. Lead is measured in a different system than gold. Even though a troy ounce weighs more than an avoirdupois ounce, there are only 12 to the pound. You can put a LOT of extra gold on the gold side before the lead is balanced.

  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:17PM (#24487151) Homepage Journal

    "It's water, but not as we know it";

    "It's water JIM, but not as we know it". Yeash. If you're going to make pop culture references, at least get them right!

    In other news, I vote we go to war against California. They are obviously attempting a scorched earth policy against the world's oil supply. Once we've secured the area, we can bring John Wayne [imdb.com] in to take care of the problem.

    • by Dice (109560)

      In other news, I vote we go to war against California. They are obviously attempting a scorched earth policy against the world's oil supply. Once we've secured the area, we can bring John Wayne [imdb.com] in to take care of the problem.

      I think he'll be on our side, particularly with regards to the LA area. There is, after all, an airport [wikipedia.org] named after him. (Scroll down about half way for picture of the eerily large statue present at said airport).

  • by bwcbwc (601780) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:18PM (#24487177)
    an awful lot of effort to go through for some parboiled prawns. The Ventura county site sounds like a great spot for a barbecue, though. Don't even have to bring any charcoal.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I remember seeing on Discovery Channel (?) years ago a show where they wrapped a chicken in aluminum foil, poured lava on it, let it sit for a fairly normal cooking time, and cracked the shell open. Supposedly the chicken was delicious and super juicy. That California site might be a good place for a good old-new-fashioned underground pig roast.

      • Unless it was solidified lava, that seems unlikely. From some quick searches, it seems that the lower range of temperatures for molten lava is ~700 C, while aluminum melts at ~660 C.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by larry bagina (561269)
          It's banana leaves or the like, which might burn up, but will protect the chicken. When Alton Brown did a ./ interview, he was asked about that and denied it was possible. However, lava isn't a very good heat conductor and you scoop out lava so it works.
          • That makes more sense, as the leaves will (I imagine) char and leave a protective carbon layer around the chicken.

  • Seriously, though, wouldn't the water just convert to steam at that point, even if it WAS under that much water? What are the properties of water at that temperature? Could this conceivably be used to power locomotivators (more commonly known as "iron horses") across large distances on metal rails? This could help solve that whole oil problem!

    Also, they found my luau pig! Awesome... seriously, I forgot where I buried it. It's probably too burnt to eat by now, though...
    • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:24PM (#24487323)

      >Could this conceivably be used to power locomotivators (more commonly known as "iron horses") across large distances on metal rails? This could help solve that whole oil problem!

      This could help solve that whale oil problem!

      There. Fixed it for you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Secret Rabbit (914973)

      """
      Seriously, though, wouldn't the water just convert to steam at that point, even if it WAS under that much water?
      """

      Not under that amount of pressure.

      • Thanks, tips. That is what I was asking. Under that much water = under an equivalent amount of pressure.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Secret Rabbit (914973)

          Well, that post of yours could go either sarcastic or honest. Don't know you so...

          At any rate, I recall that in my grade 11 Chem course we did a bit on pressure. The teacher created a "vacuum" over a bowl of water at room temperature and it boiled. That's less than an atmosphere difference and boiling. So, imagine what one more atmosphere would do to the boiling point. It'll go up quite a bit. Now try to imagine how much more pressure than that there is down at that depth i.e. at that pressure, it's r

    • by pla (258480) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:28PM (#24487371) Journal
      Seriously, though, wouldn't the water just convert to steam at that point, even if it WAS under that much water?

      The term "supercritical" doesn't just make a nice-sounding buzzword to toss into the article.

      It literally means that you can make no meaningful distinction between the liquid and gaseous phases of the water at that pressure and temperature - You have something between the two phases with no phase-change energy transition separating them.


      As an aside, humans use supercritical water all the time, in power plants. This only counts as interesting because we've never seen it occur naturally before (most likely because we don't tend to hang out a lot in places at pressures above 22MPa).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mursk (928595)
        So, what you're saying is... it actually IS water as we know it? Damn, there goes that clever sound bite.
    • by bwcbwc (601780)

      It's God's pressure cooker. At that depth the pressure is so high that the boiling temperature of water is higher than the normal 100C. That said, there's no reason it couldn't be converting to steam in small pockets and then the steam re-condenses as it comes in contact with cooler water.

      It would be even more interesting if the hot water could rise up fast enough without mixing too much with the cooler water around it to the point where it actually would start to boil vigorously. It would be a race between

      • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:44PM (#24487593)
        That said, there's no reason it couldn't be converting to steam in small pockets and then the steam re-condenses as it comes in contact with cooler water.

        Actually there is a reason: it's "supercritical".

        For it to turn to steam would require a phase change between it and the surrounding water, and a supercritical fluid by definition has no distinct phase change between the liquid and gasous phases.

        You'd think that if the pressure would be high enough, a liquid would stay a liquid at any arbitrary temperature, but that's not what happens. If you have a vessel strong enough to withstand the increasing pressure, and you heat a liquid within it, that has a gasous phase above it, you first see boiling. Then, as the pressure in the gas phase rises, the boiling stops. But, if you keep heating it, an interesting thing happens: the line between liquid and gas phase disappears, and the fluid only has one phase. It is supercritical.

        In this case, boiling never starts because the pressure is high to begin with.

        Now, the supercritical water is much less dense than seawater (or plain water, for that matter), so it does rise, and if it cools slower than the pressure drops as it rises, yes, it might start to boil.

    • by dAzED1 (33635)
      water (like all matter) does indeed melt/boil at different temps depending upon pressure.
    • Higher pressure means a higher boiling point. That's why pressurized water reactors use pressurized water.

      Since every 10 metres of depth gives you one atmosphere of pressure, the pressures at depth are very high and so are boiling points.

  • Get a boat out to that vent, stat. You could fish up pre-boiled lobster there!
  • by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:21PM (#24487261) Journal
    As pressure increases, boiling point rises for (almost?) any substance.

    As heat increases, density decreases due to increased movement of the particles.

    Therefore, shouldn't water at the bottom of the ocean have an unusually high boiling point - and water which is heated to near that boiling point be much less dense?

    To me it seems like they're backing up existing thermodynamic properties with evidence
    • by ZombieWomble (893157) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:37PM (#24487501)
      What's interesting is that the statements you made are only true up to a certain point - as pressure increases, boiling point rises, true. But above a certain pressure/temperature combination, the distinction between "liquid" and "gas" becomes meaningless, and so the boiling point stops being a meaningful value. While this has been shown in other materials in the past, this one is interesting because it's in water, and everyone loves water.
      • But above a certain pressure/temperature combination, the distinction between "liquid" and "gas" becomes meaningless, and so the boiling point stops being a meaningful value. While this has been shown in other materials in the past, this one is interesting because it's in water...

        It's not so much that it is water, but that it is naturally ocurring. We've been heating water to the supercritical point for ages. Many nuclear reactors operate at these temperatures and pressures, I believe.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nyckname (240456)

      Pressure at 3000m is about 290 atmospheres.

    • As heat increases, density decreases due to increased movement of the particles.

      Well, ignoring the substance of your question (because I'm not sure either... pressure I'd guess), let's also remember water is weird, and the opposite occurs... as heat decreases, yes, water becomes more dense (cold water sinks in warmer water)... until it freezes, and then it becomes less dense (ice floats).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:22PM (#24487273)

    Once you put water under enough pressure (think 4000 PSI), you can pump almost an infite amount of heat into it without it undergoing a phase change. [wikipedia.org] Useful for all sorts things, like breaking down any organic compound into constituant atoms. So the water in the story isn't the hottest on earth, only the hottest naturally occuring.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gregbot9000 (1293772)
      I know all about this, as does anyone who eats breakfast at Macdonald's. This is apparently how they make their coffee.
  • by flaming error (1041742) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:23PM (#24487297) Journal

    It happens that I'm not far from Fillmore, so I went to see the spot. It was intensely hot, and the smoke emanated from a particular bush. I left a mashed up recording of Jeremy Irons playing on a loop. The recording says "You must lead my people out of captivity and into the promised land."

  • by electricbern (1222632) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:27PM (#24487357)
    Plant baked potatos in California?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:28PM (#24487379)

    global warming is a myth. hot water from magma is causing the earth to warm.

    go back to your long hair and pot, you anti-american pro-global warming hoax hippies!

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:28PM (#24487387) Homepage Journal
    So can we conclude from this that Ventura==hot air?

    Of course, many Minnesotans already knew that... (and others learned it the hard way)
  • Hot Earth?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ROMRIX (912502)
    Don't buck trend buddy! These days it's called "Global Warming!"
    You don't want to piss off the Gore groupies!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      No no no no noooo

      You see, it's because of Global Warming, that the heat is being transfered INSIDE the planet which in turn causes massive earthquakes and tsunami! If we keep burning fossil fuels, the planet will crack into a bazillion pieces. At this point, a minute gravitational disturbance cause by the distruction of Earth will force the Sun to go super-nova.

      Ohhh noes!

    • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:15PM (#24488655) Journal

      "Global warming" was to specific. They changed it to "Global Climate Change" in case things started to cool back off they could get more funding out of it.

  • ...That's Hot!

  • by MRe_nl (306212) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:48PM (#24487655)

    "The 812-degree temperature was measured Friday about a foot below the surface."
    Buried AND cremated for the price of one.
    That should even stop a troll.

    hmmm toxic waste dump...

  • by Nymz (905908) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @05:56PM (#24487775) Journal
    The original article has since been updated with a picture, a map, and even a video. But the 800 degree temperature still lacks a -&deg-F designation IMO. Here was my original submission:

    Ground temperatures exceeding 800 degrees (C? F? HOT!) are being recorded [latimes.com] at the Los Padres Forest in Ventura County, California. Geologists are uncertain why, but a popular theory is that hydrocarbons in some form (petroleum, gas, coal) are being exposed to air through cracks formed in dry ground. (Fuel + Oxygen + Heat = Fire Triangle) [wikipedia.org] The last thing California needs are forest fires from below, after so recently fighting off forest fires from lightning above, [ca.gov] so fire fighters are closely monitoring the area.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Perhaps they should go drill out those hydrocarbs. They could put it in drums and see if anyone would buy it.

      • by khallow (566160)
        Hmmm, I might buy it. But they'd have to do something to it first. Doesn't sound really handy as black goo in barrels.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LurkerXXX (667952)

      Exceeding 800 by how much? Temperatures 6 feet under the roads in Centralia PA have been recorded at 853F. The town is abandoned and the roads are detoured around. A coal mine underground has been burning for decades.

      http://www.offroaders.com/album/centralia/Johnathan_F_Beltz.htm [offroaders.com]

      Luckily PA isn't as prone to forest fires, but living on top of a giant Weber grill does tend to lower your property values.

    • Seeing as this is California, which is still, for some reason, part of the united states, and newspapers usually run temps in the local measure, It would be safe to assume it is F.
  • This isn't the town that had to be condemned because the coal underground was ignited?

  • How do we pin this on man-made global warming? It's a stretch, but the populace has accepted longer stretches than this. Can I buy credits to offset the effects of this?

  • by OldSoldier (168889) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @06:50PM (#24488319)

    When I first read this article I was immediately reminded of Yellowstone National Park with the phrase "huge bubble of magma". Yellowstone is a well known super volcano. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supervolcano

    With over 75% of the earth being water, it seems natural to assume that there are supervolcanos underwater. My question is ... does anyone know and if so what sort of effect do such eruptions have on the marine ecosystem?

    • by peektwice (726616)
      Just guessing... since the Yellowstone Caldera has been suggested to have been responsible for mass-extinctions, it would have a similar effect in a marine environment as well.
  • The cost of refinancing the 2 acres under the mortgage rescue bill immediately shot up to $433,433,433.

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