31

As Chris Mueller said, in short: it isn't, or at least highly infeasible. Projects to drill into the mantle, such as the Kola Superdeep Borehole, have all failed because drilling equipment can't withstand the heat at only ~15km deep. Even if we were to come up with some sort of cooling system that's able to cool to 6400km or 12800km deep (depending on ...


28

The simple answer is that you can't drill to 50 km depth. The deepest holes ever drilled were to a little more than 12 km, one is named the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia, which was a scientific drilling project. The very few others were oil exploration boreholes. Drilling that deep is extremely expensive and hard. If you go and ask anyone who ever ...


26

10 seconds is a worthwhile warning time. The Japanese use it to switch off compressors on gas lines (or open release valves on them), emergency break bullet trains, and in particular shut down nuclear power plants, all in anticipation of a power loss moments later. In the case of Japan, however, the warning time doesn't come from having deep sensors, but ...


20

Short answer: No. Long answer: Our deepest drills failed around 12km down when the drill bits were having to cope with temperatures hot enough to melt the drills. 12km down is only a tiny distance into the earth. The average distance to the center is over 6300km. So didn't even get to half of a percent of the way to the center. To do so, we'd have to ...


16

Caesium-137 is not used in the fracking process. Caesium-137 is used as a source of gamma-rays in some logging tools, most notably the density tool (one example), and some other instruments such as flowmeters. This is what the story you linked to is about. Logging tools are used after drilling to measure the properties of the rocks in the borehole, and ...


12

There is one vaguely plausible method that has been proposed: blow open a crack in the Earth's crust using a hydrogen bomb and then fill the crack with molten iron. The iron then sinks to the core, and a small probe can sit on top of it and ride it all the way down. There's no way to get it back again, of course, but it could transmit its data back to the ...


11

There are currently two ways to extract geothermal energy: one mainstream, one still at the experimental / demonstration level. Pollack et al (2010) estimate the global geoethermal heat loss at 44 TW (by comparison, civilisation's rate of energy use is about 20 TW). As the USA Department of Energy notes, all methods rely on the combination of three factors: ...


10

To explain the earth science bit (how a heat exchanger works is beyond the scope of the site). The Earth is essentially cooling, losing heat from the interior by conduction to space. this heat flux can be used to heat, for example water at depth since temperature increases with (significant) depth in the earth's crust. It is not necessary to be near a plate ...


10

The best place to ask this question is going to be at xkcd: http://what-if.xkcd.com/ but I will give it a shot. I'm not a geophysicist, but I'll try to give you a reasonable enough answer. As you said, making such a hole is not possible. However, let's try to think what if some magical force made a hole 1 km wide and then suddenly released it. This is ...


8

I can see two major benefits of having a 10 second warning time: shutting down gas lines to prevent uncontrollable ruptures and fires after the tremor when comms channels are either destroyed or overloaded; giving people inside buildings time to hide in relatively more survivable spots before the building collapses. Duck and cover, reenacted against ...


8

In most cases, probably not. Oil could be considered a metamorphic mineral, formed by "gentle" heating. That is gently on a geological scale - still enough to burn your hands! Geothermal systems work most efficiently with a large temperature difference (Third Law of Thermodynamics). As soon as the temperatures increase enough to be interesting from a ...


6

Unfortunately, you intuition about subterranean ground temperatures is incorrect. Basements and cellars do provide cooler conditions to store perishable items because the near surface rock insulates against surface heat. Go deeper however and temperature increases. Near the Earth's surface, within the crust, and away from tectonic boundaries, the rate of ...


6

Borehole drifted from straight vertical by ~840 meters over 12,000 meters. All drill-bore wander side to side some and Kola borehole did not drift much until depth exceeded 5000 meters. See page 102 in the linked document. Typical rotatory drill heads designed for vertical drilling can be steer to a small degree by using a simple concept: point the bit ...


5

Geothermal reservoirs are very different from hydrocarbon reservoirs. A geothermal reservoir is made of highly fractured igneous/metamorphic rocks which have low intrinsic permeability. Fluids get heated as they flow through fractures to temperatures well above the boiling point of water. The reason they flow is because of thermal gradients which causes ...


5

I will be using for an example in this answer the collapse of the lava dome at Mount St Helens in 1980. The lava dome on top of the mountain grew between March 20 and May 18, and then a landslide caused by the angle of the top of the dome exceeding the angle of repose of the country rock caused the pressure on the magma chamber underneath to be released, ...


3

The general answer is no. There are two critical factors that govern how a volcanic eruption behaves; the pressure of the magma and the type of magma. Regarding the types of magma, this was asked and answered in the question, Is the magma in one volcano different from the magma in every other volcano? With current volcanoes there are three types of magma: ...


3

I think you've answered your own question when you ask if 10 seconds is too short notice and is it worth it. A question for you, what can anyone do in 10 seconds and how far can anyone travel in 10 seconds? The only way to possibly save lives when an earthquake is about to occur for people to move away from the earthquake site to a safe area. As you state ...


2

Yes, but no. It highly depends on the circumstances. As Fred said in his answer, there are several types of magma. Some might flow almost like water while others might fragment and explode. You really want to know what kind of magma is inside the magma chamber before you release it. A possible thing to do, for example in Hawaii, is to force the magma to ...


2

You might get a lava seepage, but I doubt it. The cross-sectional area of a borehole is small compared to the total cross sectional area of fractures that are there already. Note that volcanoes bulge quite markedly due to lava up-welling and deformation due to magma pressure, so the volcano is invariably well fractured. A small hole is likely to fill up with ...


2

The only reasonable hypothesis is that it is filled with whatever it was filled with when the well was sealed. A 12km long pipe with a sealed end is not going to have its contents replaced with something else easily. You could theorise that an intrusion of gas at the bottom opening of the pipe could expel liquid by replacement - possible, but slow.


1

Water has likely seeped in to the point of filling the hole up to sea level along with a high concentration of mineral deposits as a suspension of solids with the 180° Celsius bottom creating a lava lamp like movement of those solids as they cool near the surface. Also assuming they left the drill and shafts inside, a whole lot of rusting metal.


1

I think your basic assumption is incorrect. Removing oil and the 80 to 90% water associated with it would reduce the thermal conductivity of the rock formations. It removes these liquids which aid thermal conductivity across the myriad of very tiny pores that contained the liquids. In the US regulations have the affect of the water being pumped back into the ...


1

The cost of digging very deep boreholes is generally prohibitive and unnecessary given the accuracy that detectors can be built with modern technology and the time advantages of deep mine detectors is minimal given the velocity of wave propagation through a solid. The Tevatron Particle Accelerator in the US was able to detect earth quakes from the other side ...


1

Do you know the (TVD) true vertical depth of these wells. Are you certain the wells are tapped into an oil formation. Oil wells deplete in the production sense but the mess still remains as well over time oil will seep back into the fractured zone. The clean up and maintenance of equipment would be great. There may also be the presence of other toxic gases ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible