Text Box: GE5185 Volcanology - Fall 2011
Text Box: Big Ideas in Volcanology
Text Box: Feats of Engineering
Text Box: To understand how and why we would ever attempt to engineer a volcanic eruption we must understand how and why we have engineered other components of our environment. We posses impressive technology which is constantly improving.  We have used our knowledge and understanding of science and engineering principals in multiple efforts to master our environment in various ways.  We are constantly trying to manipulate nature and force it to accommodate us.  Here are a few impressive examples.  The Big Idea here is that these are engineering accomplishments we have already achieved or plan to; it is likely that we will eventually try to apply some of these same or similar techniques to volcanos.

World’s largest excavator. By Krupp

We can remove entire mountaintops to feed our demand for cheap coal. Photo obtained from The Mountaintop Removal Road Show.

We have carved through countries to make shipping easier. Photo obtained from thegaurdian

We have built our own private islands for expanded leisure.  Photo from Wikipedia

We can stop rivers, fill valleys and form lakes for energy and water resources.  Photo obtained from MountHolyoke.

We have changed the course of the mighty Mississippi. Photo Obtained from USGS

Bingham Canyon open pit copper mine.  The largest manmade hole on earth.  Photo obtained from Wikipedia

Engineering our environment through cloud seeding.  From Wikipedia.

Even more ambitious than cloud seeding is geoengineering.  Modifying our atmosphere to stop or reverse global warming and cool the planet.  Image obtained from Climatide.

There are even plans to destroy (left, from NY Times) or deflect (right, from SciencephotoLibrary) earthbound asteroids