16 April 2010

There's always a simple answer

I'm feeling pessimstic about getting to Lisbon next week. But on the Daily Mail website, someone called Gary has the answer:
Why do'nt the Icelanders pump vast amounts of liquid nitrogen or liquid helium into the volcanic interior? At such extremes of temperature, the liquid nitrogen would rapidly convert to gas and absorb the thermal energy fom the molten rock or magma, undoubtly resulting in its solidification. The glacial meltwater could be harnessed and diverted into the volcanic vent, quenching the magma and producing copious amounts of water vapour. This water vapour would undoubtly condense on the surfaces of the airborne volcanic particles, flushing them out of the atmosphere. Nature can be tamed by mankind, but such a feat requires scientific ingenuity 

And I must be bored, because I've replied:
Sounds like a good idea, but I don't suppose the Icelanders have that much liquid nitrogen to hand. The world can help by organising a massive airlift of liquid nitrogen (and liquid helium too, why not) to Iceland. At once! 

So nice to debate with a fellow scientist!


Kings Hill Addick said...

I fear your plan will fall short as until they sort out the ash in the sky you can't fly it in.


Brian said...

I'm sure Gary can work out a way around that. Kamikaze planes, loaded with liquid nitrogen, so it doesn't matter if they are damaged or destroyed. Yeah. And they could be piloted by Icelandic bankers. They owe us.

Brian said...

Oh, no, hang on. That wouldn't work because the Icelandic bankers would have to leave Iceland to be able to fly the kamikaze planes, and they can't do that of course. I now realise my plan was foolish and so was I.

Clive said...

Estimates are that the volcano is producing 6 tonnes of lava per second. Calculations show that you would need 27 tonnes of liquid nitrogen per second to solidify all this lava. Liquid gases are transported in refrigerated ships that typically carry 24000 tonnes of liquid gas. One shipload would last about two and a half hours so it would just need 10 of these ships a day but it will take six day for each round trip so we just need 60 of these ships forming a sort of bucket chain. No problem.