That's the question R.D. Schuiling of Geochem Research BV, based in The Netherlands, asks in the current issue of the Inderscience Publication, International Journal of Global Environmental Issues.
During the 1960s, Schuiling pioneered the discipline of geochemical engineering, which involves the use of natural processes to solve environmental and civil engineering problems. He recently turned his attention to the ongoing problem of how to tame volcanic lava flows. Lava flows regularly threaten and sometimes destroy human settlements.
In 1973, the Icelanders had some success slowing the advance of lava from Heimaey by dousing the flow with huge volumes of seawater. Meanwhile in Sicily, the town of Zafferana was saved from being ravaged by the 1991-1993 eruption cycle of Etna by huge earth walls built to divert the lava flow.
Schuiling believes a geochemical approach might be effective in controlling lava flows across the globe. He explains that certain common rocks, namely dolomite, or limestone, will react strongly with hot lava at 1100-1200 Celsius. The chemical reaction that ensues is highly endothermic, which means it requires heat, and this would be supplied by the hot lava.
The decarbonation of limestone by the hot lava will therefore rapidly cool the volcanic outpourings, making it far more viscous and quicker to solidify. The reaction will leave behind solid calcium and magnesium oxide mixtures - pyroxenes or melilites depending on the specific type of lava. The process would also release some carbon dioxide.
He suggests that large chunks of dolomite or limestone blocks could be thrown on to lava from the sides, or from above by helicopters or airplanes, or even by an aerial cable system passing over the flow. An alternative approach might be to quickly build a wall of limestone blocks in the path of the advancing lava flow. In places where a future lava flow would cause great material damage, such walls could even be constructed as a forward defence before a new eruption.
Albert Ang | alfa
Receding glaciers in Bolivia leave communities at risk
20.10.2016 | European Geosciences Union
UM researchers study vast carbon residue of ocean life
19.10.2016 | University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences