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Earth Science

Supervolcano Drilling Plan Gets Go-Ahead 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
sciencehabit writes "A project to drill deep into the heart of a 'supervolcano' in southern Italy has finally received the green light, despite claims that the drilling would put the population of Naples at risk of small earthquakes or an explosion. Yesterday, Italian news agency ANSA quoted project coordinator Giuseppe De Natale of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology as saying that the office of Naples mayor Luigi de Magistris has approved the drilling of a pilot hole 500 meters deep. The project’s organizers originally intended to bore a 4-kilometer-deep well in the area of the caldera late in 2009, but the plan was put on hold by then-mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino after scientists expressed concerns about the risks."
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Supervolcano Drilling Plan Gets Go-Ahead

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  • Eh (Score:5, Informative)

    by tmosley (996283) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:05PM (#40046719)
    If a single borehole into a magma chamber were all it took to trigger an eruption, we wouldn't have supervolcanoes, as they would have all bled out their pressure long ago. You might get a tiny earthquake, or an explosion large enough to collapse the borehole, but the it is very unlikely that anything worse than that would happen. If something that small could cause it, it would have been triggered naturally.
  • Re:In Italy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sunshinerat (1114191) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:33PM (#40046939)

    We are all downwind from super volcanoes.

  • Re:Bad Idea? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:45PM (#40047041)

    That wasn't lava, that was mud. It's still active and it's in Indonesia.

    Sidoarjo mud flow []

  • Re:In Italy? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ankhank (756164) * on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:59PM (#40047135) Journal

    It's been done before, accidentally:

    "Monday December 22, 2008
    Big Isle well strikes deep lava chamber
    Magma flowing into a shaft was the first seen in its “natural habitat”
    By Rod Thompson
    Honolulu Star-Bulletin
    HILO Geologists around the world are perking up at the news from San Francisco last week that magma flowed a short distance into a Big Island geothermal well during drilling in 2005, revealing an unusual mineral.
    Geologists on the Big Island are taking the news more calmly since they were informed months earlier, and a much more dramatic case of magma in a geothermal well took place in Iceland in 1977...."

There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923