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Earth Science

Mapping a Monster Volcano 105

Posted by timothy
from the shhh-it's-sleeping dept.
bmahersciwriter (2955569) writes In one of the biggest-ever seismology deployments at an active volcano, researchers are peppering Mount St Helens in Washington state with equipment to study the intricate system of chambers and pipes that fed the most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.
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Mapping a Monster Volcano

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    'most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.'

    • by djupedal (584558)
      It's always a bad idea to assume a good idea.
    • What could go wrong?
      • For starters, you could accidentally let the clowns out of the circus.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No worries, it's actually a secret plot by the Scientologists to release Xenu.

    • by lbmouse (473316)
      Nothing like pokin' the bear.
    • But it is scientist approved.
      Or are you going to go back on the scientific process and just join the same group as climate change deniers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by lgw (121541)

        There's absolutely no difference between "faith in scientists" and "faith in wise men". If you believe the conclusions of some area of science because you did some research and you understand, at least shallowly, the arguments and evidence, then you can claim a difference from religion. But anything you just believe because the "smart people" say it's so? That's religious faith, plain and simple.

        (It's also quite silly to disbelieve something just because of its source, of course, though skepticism is oft

        • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @03:01PM (#47409221)

          But anything you just believe because the "smart people" say it's so? That's religious faith, plain and simple.

          Wrong. There is one HUGE and critical difference. I can at any time I wish attempt to duplicate the experiment of the scientist. With religion there is no possibility of confirming the assertions of religious "wise men" because they are making claims that cannot be falsified. For example I haven't actually gotten out a telescope to confirm the existence of the moon Titan around Saturn even though plenty of scientists assure me it is there. However I can actually do so any time I wish. That is not religion, it is simply pragmatism. I don't have time to confirm everything for myself but I'm willing to lend more credence to observations I can replicate myself if I so choose.

          Religion is taking something on blind faith that cannot be confirmed with observation. That is enormously different than trusting to a scientist who is describing his observations.

          • The fact that you COULD observe it, doesn't mean you actually will. Thus, until you actually observe it yourself, your knowledge of reality is still coming through faith. For one, you believe that the person telling you these things actually knows what he is talking about, and also that he is not attempting to lie to you. I very much doubt that many could afford a telescope that could see Titan, and so their knowledge will never rise above a simple belief that the scientist knows better than he does and he

            • The fact that you COULD observe it, doesn't mean you actually will.

              Which is irrelevant. Nobody has time to observe everything themselves. If it becomes important that I confirm it for myself then I will take the time and effort to do so.

              Thus, until you actually observe it yourself, your knowledge of reality is still coming through faith.

              Wrong. Trust is not the same thing as faith. I trust that which I have the ability to confirm even if only in theory. I trust the scientific process because I have copious evidence that (in general) it works AND I always have the option of confirming for myself if needed. There is no need for me to try to confirm every scientific obse

              • Actually, by definition, faith is:

                defn: [merriam-webster.com] : strong belief or trust in someone or something.

                Thus your ability to confirm is based upon a certain trust in the validity of the scientific process. It does not mean that it is unreasonable, but simply that it is of something that you cannot observe.

                As far as the 'duplicated independently', certainly that increases the validity of the measurement. But the question arises: what if there is only one instrument that can measure the phenomenon [such as CERN] ? How much

            • by Tamerlin (940577)

              The fact that you COULD observe it, doesn't mean you actually will. Thus, until you actually observe it yourself, your knowledge of reality is still coming through faith.

              That's not at all correct. It's based on reason.

              When a competent scientist publishes a result, they also publish the methods that they used to achieve it. Part of the scientific process is to validate them by having 3rd parties reproduce those results. That becomes evidence.

              Incredibly stupid people will claim that because it's not proven it must be wrong, but science is rarely cut and dried as the religious imbeciles want everyone to believe. When 98% of the scientific community says that there is a 90

          • by lgw (121541)

            Wrong. There is one HUGE and critical difference. I can at any time I wish attempt to duplicate the experiment of the scientist.

            Sure, that's cool. Have you? Or are you taking it on faith?

            With religion there is no possibility of confirming the assertions of religious "wise men" because they are making claims that cannot be falsified.

            BS. Most of religion centers on claims about the right way to live - perhaps to have a happy life, or a successful community, or so on. Very testable claims. It's only the crazies who focus on the overlap between religion and biology/cosmology. That was never the interesting part of most religions anyhow.

            For example I haven't actually gotten out a telescope to confirm the existence of the moon Titan around Saturn even though plenty of scientists assure me it is there.

            Really? I have. It's fun. Or maybe it was Jupiter's moons (it was decades ago), but in any case, I certainly did the most basic and shall

            • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @04:04PM (#47409829)

              Sure, that's cool. Have you? Or are you taking it on faith?

              Boy did you miss the point. The point is that I COULD. That is hugely different than simply taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning. What makes processes like science or open source software so powerful is not that I have to check everything myself to trust it. What makes them powerful is that I always have the opportunity to check for myself. If you cannot see the difference then there is not much I can help you with here.

              BS. Most of religion centers on claims about the right way to live - perhaps to have a happy life, or a successful community, or so on.

              Religions are based on nothing of the sort. Most religions are a philosophical interpretations of collection of fables detailing things that cannot be proven to reassure and generally to gain power over those who are insecure and afraid. All that nonsense about the "right way to live" is simply trying to put a digestible coating on a pile of unprovable nonsense. Telling people "god said to do it" is much easier to explain than actually making a rational argument about why killing other people is a bad idea.

              Very testable claims.

              Really? Prove to me that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Prove to me that there was a garden of Eden. Prove to me that Jesus or Mohammed actually said any of the things they are reputed to have said. Prove to me that there is a diety of any sort. The bible, the koran, etc upon which the major religions are based are based on nothing testable at all. They are stories told to prey upon vulnerable people's insecurities so that others may gain influence and power. Organized religion gives "answers" that cannot possibly be true or proven or known.

              Only in quantum mechanics do I feel I'm still taking too much on faith, as the math there is just so much damn work to even understand the most basic results.

              So because you are inadequate to the task of understanding quantum mechanics it becomes faith? Perhaps you feel the need to drag things you don't understand down to your level so you don't feel so bad about yourself. The observations are there to be made and whether you understand them or not is irrelevant to their existence. You not understanding doesn't make it faith. It simply means you don't know and there is no shame in admitting that.

              Again, you have a very narrow view of religion. I suspect you've spent as little time studying religion as you have studying science

              You know nothing of my background so you can keep your insults to yourself. I've plenty of background in both - enough that I find your assertion rather bemusing.

              I have no patience for those who blindly follow religious dogma out of insecurity and then try to drag rational discourse down to the same level. If you want to believe in absurd things you have no basis for then by all means have at it. But don't expect me to follow along or condone your lunacy for even a moment.

              • by lgw (121541)

                Boy did you miss the point. The point is that I COULD. That is hugely different than simply taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning.

                I don't get it. You're in fact taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning, but that's "hugely different" than taking what someone else said as the final word without questioning? Because you could do something you didn't? I'm not finding that argument coherent.

                I'm skeptical by nature. Sure, there are many things I take on faith because they're just not interesting or important enough to question. I think that's true for everyone. But anything I have a strong opinion on, I'v

              • So, I really like what you wrote here, because reproducibility is such an important part of science, and a lot of people miss it. At the same time, I'd like to quibble with one point:

                Really? Prove to me that Jesus actually rose from the dead. Prove to me that there was a garden of Eden. Prove to me that Jesus or Mohammed actually said any of the things they are reputed to have said. Prove to me that there is a diety of any sort. The bible, the koran, etc upon which the major religions are based are based on nothing testable at all.

                Verifying what happened in history is tough, but earlier I made a list of testable claims from various religions [slashdot.org]. I don't know if they're worth going to the effort of testing, but there they are.

            • by meglon (1001833)
              Again, you're simply making stupid comments about something you don't know much about. You do not understand science. You can play your little word games, but in the end, you're just a religious mook trying to justify your belief.
          • You conveniently ignore the religious aspects of modern left-wing thought in the environmental area. Who are Ghandi and Nelson Mandela but modern-day saints who can do no wrong? Nobody is allowed to ask how Mandela's people invented necklacing [wikipedia.org] because it is heresy.

            Be real, real careful about claiming that science supports you and you alone. It has a nasty habit of turning against you. Because it is, you know, evidence-based.

            • It has a nasty habit of turning against you. Because it is, you know, evidence-based.

              The fact that you have just questioned Mandella without consequence provides strong evidence that there is no barrier to questioning Mandela other than self-censorship.

        • by meglon (1001833)
          You're attempting to argue that science is the same as religion. It isn't, and the fact you'd suggest such a stupid thing only reveals you don't have an understanding of science. I'd suggest you stick with something you actually know something about, which is clearly not science, or anything to do with the scientific principle.
          • by lgw (121541)

            You're attempting to argue that science is the same as religion

            No, I make no such argument. My argument is that taking something on faith is the same regardless of which "wise men" you believe without diligence. Sure, it's often more practical to understand the argument and evidence for science than for religion - but that only matters when you actually do the work. Until you do, you're taking that belief on faith.

            • You're arguing that people put their faith in the title people wear rather than the diametrically opposed philosophies they follow. The fact that you have so many people disagreeing with you demonstrates that is not the case. What you are claiming is that what Karl Popper called the "republic of science" (AKA scientific consensus) has no place in Science and that you must personally test each and every claim. That is a ludicrous claim, it demonstrates an immature understanding of philosophy and epistemology
              • by lgw (121541)

                The relativity of wrong is unrelated. I love it that your argument for consensus is "see, the consensus of people disagree with you". Nice.

                My argument is dead simple: you either have done the work to understand why something is right, or you are taking it on faith that the Wise Men are right. Sure, some Wise Men are more reliable than others, and that's great for them, but you are just lazily operating on faith until you do the work.

                If you want to claim "but I put my faith in Wiser Wise Men than those gu

        • There's absolutely no difference between "faith in scientists" and "faith in wise men".

          Sure, appealing to authority is unscientific but to assume there is no qualitative difference in the opinions of the two groups simply implies you think that all opinions are equal. Many people do express that ideological view, but they obviously don't believe it since nobody would go to the hairdresser to get their appendix removed.

          What you are really talking about is informed trust. Why do you trust scientists to follow the scientific method and report honestly? Why do you trust wise men to selflessly

          • by lgw (121541)

            Sure, appealing to authority is unscientific but to assume there is no qualitative difference in the opinions of the two groups simply implies you think that all opinions are equal

            It's not that all opinions are equal, but that blind faith is blind faith. Science is great because you can do the diligence and confirm the opinion, or at least understand the argument. But until you do that, the difference is as yet immaterial.

            It amazes me how many people have strong opinions about issues they don't understand. I take a lot of things on faith: pretty much everything in my life that's both unimportant and uninteresting. But I don't have strong opinions on those things - I know I can't

      • Yes and scientists were in control of the research center that had to inoculate their staff as a precaution because they screwed up and let out some anthrax. Scientists also stored and then lost some recently found smallpox virus in friggin' cardboard boxes.

        Scientists fuck up too and the bigger the play field, the bigger the fuck up.

    • by meerling (1487879)
      Yes, those explosions are really surface blasts, even the ones up to 25m deep.
      It's kind of when you scratch an itch, it's not like it's going to break a bone or anything.
      As to being the equivalent of a magnitude 2, so what. A magnitude 2.5 is in the you won't even feel it category as it's less than light which doesn't even start until 3.
      A magnitude 1 is said to be the equivalent of blowing up 6 ounces of TNT.

      Of course, if you still want to be afraid of that, I know a few dozen "invasive species" you can ove
    • by dslbrian (318993)

      'most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.'

      It will be fine. The guy planting the explosives is going to be wearing a red shirt (for safety). Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        'most devastating eruption in U.S. history. This month, they plan to set off 24 explosions — each equivalent to a magnitude-2 earthquake — around around the slumbering beast in an effort to map the its interior with unprecedented depth and clarity.'

        It will be fine. The guy planting the explosives is going to be wearing a red shirt (for safety). Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

        You probably won't need to remember his first name anyway.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        It will be fine. The guy planting the explosives is going to be wearing a red shirt (for safety). Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

        Excellent! Then it WILL be fine. At least for me.
        Not for him maybe, but he won't be missed, we barely knew him.

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Last name was Smith or Jones or something, didn't catch the first name.

        Alias [wikipedia.org]?

    • by CaptainLard (1902452) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @01:50PM (#47408621)
      Oh No! All of those volcano researchers and their peers/collaborators probably haven't considered what could happen when the charges go off. Some doofus from the internet better warn them via posting on a random message board!!!
      • by RockDoctor (15477)
        Do you think they're al going to be set off at once?

        If they did that, how would they know if they're listening to a delayed echo from shot point #7, indicating a magma chamber at 17km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #13, indicating a magma chamber at 27km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #4, indicating a magma chamber at 7km depth, or a differently-delayed echo from shot point #2, indicating a magma chamber at 2km depth, ...

        It gets repetitive, doesn't it? That's wh

  • by hubie (108345) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @01:11PM (#47408333)
    This the kind of lead-in you'd expect for the beginning of a Godzilla-style movie.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I live within the blast radius (Portland) of the majestic Mt St Helens. I saw the 1980 eruption from my back yard. 24 explosions around the mountain? What could go wrong?!

    • by Sowelu (713889)

      I'm out of the blast range up north (Seatac) but would still hear it if it went off.

      That said, magnitude 2 is basically "hit the ground real hard with a sledgehammer". A nearby major construction site causes a lot more vibration, so does a big truck on the freeway.

    • Re:blast radius (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dutch Gun (899105) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @02:27PM (#47408951)

      I live within the blast radius (Portland) of the majestic Mt St Helens. I saw the 1980 eruption from my back yard. 24 explosions around the mountain? What could go wrong?!

      I lived quite a bit further away, about an hour north of Seattle, but we actually felt the blast as a minor tremor. Someone in my family actually joked "Well, there went Mt St Helens". There was quite a bit of news about a possible pending eruption, of course. We were pretty shocked when we heard what had actually happened though.

      • I lived even further away than you. Denver. We did not feel anything but we ended up having about an eighth of an inch of ash covering our cars. I am certain of this because I had to clean it off.

        I can only imagine what Yellowstone going off is going to be like. I suspect cleaning of cars in Denver is going to be the least of the problems there.

  • Oh wait... This is for real? I'll just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.
  • Like they're going to tickle the volcano's nose, maybe, if they're lucky, it will sneeze and they'll get all kinds of data!

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Like they're going to tickle the volcano's nose, maybe, if they're lucky, it will sneeze and they'll get all kinds of data!

      Would kinda suck for Vancouver, though.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        True but it will cut Americas Carbon foot print and global warming by 98.6%

        (Made up numbers may it may not exist in my math. Please see raw data below)

        Data blows

  • "I have bad feeling about this..."
  • The volcano is so big they have to wrap explosions around it twice.
  • You're just paying for the name, it's not any better than the no name volcanoes you get at Newegg.

  • Monster Volcano? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @01:47PM (#47408583)

    Mt St Helens isnt that big as far as volcanos go. The main reason so much was damaged in 1980 was because it blew out sideways

    Compared to others in recent geologic history it was just a fart.
    (compare with Krakatoa 1883, or Santorini 11610 BC, or the various Taupo eruptions)

    • by PPH (736903)

      F*cker woke me up early on a Sunday morning. Can't get much worse than that.

  • right on top of a volcano... What could possible go wrong?

  • by GlobalEcho (26240) on Tuesday July 08, 2014 @03:50PM (#47409693)

    My prediction:

    The next eruption, if it happens within the next couple of years, will be blamed on this experiment. This will happen regardless of any scientific support for such blame.

  • by PPH (736903)

    ... virgins were not enough?

    • The chief nimrod in an interview said, " We looked everywhere, but we could only find 71 virgins."

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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