NASA Wants to Drill Into Yellowstone Supervolcano

January 27, 2018 Last Updated: January 27, 2018

A swarm of earthquakes hit the Yellowstone region last year, raising further fears of an apocalyptic scenario. If the volcano explodes, a nuclear winter would follow and may cause humanity to go extinct through starvation. NASA recently proposed a plan to drill a six-mile hole into the volcano and cycle water through it. The water would be pumped at high pressure, enter the crust at outdoor temperatures, get heated to 662 F inside, and return to the surface.

The scientists also realized that drilling into a giant magma pit waiting to burst comes with its own dangers.

“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” Brian Wilcox of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said. “If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber, which would otherwise not be released,” he said.