Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sea Bucket

During a lunch break, I saw a "ha-ha, only serious" article suggesting that we deal with sea level rise by flooding arctic Canada. Why? Several reasons:

  1. No one lives there.  90% of Canada lives within 100 miles of the US border.
  2. North of the tree line, the plant life stops being all that interesting
  3. No real commercial interest in the area either
Of course, Canada will raise objections to this plan, if no other reason than because it makes them lose territory for no good reason.  However, thinking about it gave me an idea.

I can model the ocean as a bucket, 5 miles deep, with a trickle of water being added to it.  (The rise is more related to its change in temperature, but that'd be harder to model in the small scale.)   We as humans can dig far deeper than that.   I'm thinking of the borehole studies like the Kola borehole, where we dug down as deep as we could just to see what was there.  Previous knowledge of the depths of the earth was based on seismic studies, in which we bounced sound off of it.  Things got weird.

The kola borehole went down 40,000 feet.   The further the geologists drilled, the stranger it became, and the more often the drill would break and have to be replaced.  The environment at depth was over 360 degrees (180C), and they reported clouds of hydrogen gas. 

Accordingly, in a location of low commercial value, but still near the ocean, we dig as deep a hole as we can manage, build a geothermal plant over it, then dig a shaft from our hole to the ocean.   Water from the ocean drains into our hole, gets superheated into steam, and turns the turbines in the geothermal plant.  The water then condenses into fresh drinkable water.  The first place that would be good to do this would be the Kola borehole itself, if the Russian government is amenable to this.

Ideally we would pipe this water into the various fossil water reservoirs that we've been using all these years, but in practice I have a nagging feeling that the water will be sold to the highest bidder.   Probably a bottled water company.

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