NASA scientists have the rough outlines of a plan to turn a Yellowstone National Park “supervolcano” into a source of electric power.
According to NBC News, the scientists argue heat from the Yellowstone Caldera – a craterlike depression measuring 30 miles by 45 miles and filled with molten material – could be siphoned and cooled, allowing the conversion of geothermal energy into electricity.
“The primary objective…is to gradually defang Yellowstone as a threat to humanity,” Brian Wilcox, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told NBC News.
He added the last supervolcano eruption happened about 74,000 years ago, and the most recent, 640,000 years ago — but there’s no doubt it’ll happen again.
“Even though it’s unlikely to happen in anybody’s given lifetime, it will eventually happen,” Wilcox told NBC News. “One of these things is going to blow, and it’s going to be devastating.”