Volcanoes Under Control


I often asked my fellow acquaintances: is possible to take such natural phenomenon as volcanic activity of the Earth under control?

As a rule ,the question caused bewilderment with the answer “no” and when I said that it is possible, I received an inappropriate gesture.


On the Earth’s surface there are 4 types of  volcanoes, they are different from each other in their lava descent speed after eruption.

  1. High speed – when the lava leaves through the central opening of a volcano, leaving a hole. Such volcanoes on Earth are about 4-5 in number. They are called : ” The gate to hell”.
  1. Averege speed –  when the lava stays for some time in the a muzzle of a volcano and during this time, cooling, it manages to create a crater and stiffen on a depth of 30-50 meters ,then the lava goes down, leaving an opening. At the same time in the muzzle of the volcano a “cork” is formed.
  1. Slow speed – when the “cork” with it’s length exceeds the volcano radius in the lower part of the “cork” in the horizontal plane.
  1. Very Slow speed –  when length of “cork” exceeds height of the volcanic muzzle.

How will the lava in each of these four cases behave?


In the first case – the lava will quietly rise to edge of the muzzle of the volcano, without creating any pressure or any emissions and having reached edge of a muzzle of a volcano, it will quietly begin to leak  from the lowest part of the edge of the volcano muzzle.


In the second case – at repeated eruption the rising lava will create all increasing pressure inside of the volcano canal. At the same time the volcano canals sidewalls will begin to crumble and shower down as a result of the high pressure and high temperature, creating the convection movement together with internal gases.




The longer the process will take place, the dispersion (size) of particles of the formed dust will be higher. At high dispersion during the explosion of a volcano dust will be thrown out to a high altitude  into the sky and dust will pollute large areas.


 At a rather short process of dust formation inside the volcanoes cavity, at low dispersion of particles of dust and at an explosion of a volcano, the pyroclastic stream will roll down from its top down, with a speed depending on the volcanoes height.

This speed can reach 250 km/hour.

 Such a stream in the past burned and destroyed the city of Pompeii.

Mount Merapi releases a pyroclastic flow as it erupts as seen from Deles, Central Java, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 29, 2010. (AP Photo)

In the third case – the eruption will not begin at the volcano top but from the sides of the  volcano cone. In the case of a long convection process inside the volcano, it’s internal walls can diminish to such an extent that the top of the volcano cone can collapse inside itself, having formed a caldera (a huge crater) or it could move sideways and roll down from the mountain. At the same time if it fall into water, then there is a possibility that a tsunami will form.

A similar process happened with the “Etna” Volcano on Sicily recently.

In the fourth case – the volcano is considered extinct and in the case of renewal of volcanic activity in this area, a new volcano can appear at a foot old.

What can we do in the first three cases? A conclusion arises: to lead the second and third dangerous cases to the first safe one.


In the second case – with help from aircraft and depth charges , you destroy  the volcano “cork” inside the crater of the volcano and lower the edge of the volcano in the place necessary to safely discharge the  lava at the next eruption.

 In the third case –  it is necessary to make an opening in the crater,in the depth of the “cork” in any available way (a boring machine, a self-propelled pile driver, etc.).     After that – expand the received opening by means of internal explosions.

If we would use this method to “unseal” volcanoes, then the threat of earthquakes will decrease since at the increase of pressure magma will begin “to breathe” through the openings in the volcanoes but not to move the tectonic plates of the earth’s crust.

You can compare the volcano with a daily life example of boiling milk in a pot:
When the pot is closed with a lid then when the milk will boil you will not be able to control the pressure that is building up and the milk will burst through the lid and and milk will escape the pot.
But if you take the lid off the pressure that is building up will be controlled.
For example the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii which is an open volcano and the lava pours from it without creating an explosion (the result we want to achieve)-
Video Here


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