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Geology Pictures of the Week, December 5-12, 2004: Fire and Ice
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, elsewhere ^

Posted on 12/06/2004 9:41:17 AM PST by cogitator

Today's theme is people in isolation.

I found this picture of the Pu'u O'o vent field on Kilauea strangely compelling (click for large size):


Possible caption: "OK, I know I lost my glasses around here somewhere..."

Vatnajokull Ice Cap (Iceland) from the road; click for full-size:


Possible caption: "No outlet."


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Education; Miscellaneous; Outdoors; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: hawaii; icecap; iceland; kilauea; lava; vatnajokull; volcano
And I must add this probably well-known fact: both of these (Big Island of Hawaii and Iceland) have the same type of volcanoes (basaltic) and perennial snow fields.
1 posted on 12/06/2004 9:41:17 AM PST by cogitator
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To: 2Trievers; headsonpikes; Pokey78; Lil'freeper; epsjr; sauropod; kayak; Miss Marple; CPT Clay; ...

** ping **


2 posted on 12/06/2004 9:42:16 AM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator

Global Warming hits Hawaii....


3 posted on 12/06/2004 10:02:26 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Always Right
Global Warming hits Hawaii...

Volcano-logically speaking, it's been hot there for a long time.

4 posted on 12/06/2004 10:04:10 AM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator
Volcano-logically speaking, it's been hot there for a long time.

And glaciers have been retreating for 20,000 years, but does that make a difference to the global fear-mongers?

5 posted on 12/06/2004 10:06:43 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Always Right
And glaciers have been retreating for 20,000 years, but does that make a difference to the global fear-mongers?

It might depend on how fast they've been retreating, and what caused the retreat. Those factors make a difference to me, because I know that there are several dozen reasons causing glacial retreat and advance. Glaciers always exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium; changes to either the input or output factors will affect which way the glacier is going. One other problem is that glaciers have a long "memory" -- sometimes the current action of a glacier is a response to shifts in the predominant regional climate factors occurring decades ago.

6 posted on 12/06/2004 10:14:45 AM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator
Glaciers always exist in a state of dynamic equilibrium

Dynamic Equalibrium??? 20,000 years ago glaciers covered most of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. The whole fairy tale of globull warming is that somehow the earth has been stable for 4 billion years, then along came humans and we are throwing it out of balance. Well, that is a bunch of bullcrap. The earth has never been stable and has been under constant change. To assume the earth's climate is stable is to assume the 1+1=3.

7 posted on 12/06/2004 10:57:13 AM PST by Always Right
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To: Always Right
The earth has never been stable and has been under constant change.

Evaluation of climate stability requires a stated time-frame under which that evaluation can be conducted. Since the end of the last glacial (or I could say since the beginning of this interglacial) the Earth's climate has been extraordinarily stable. Previous interglacial periods are slightly less stable than this one, and the glacial periods are considerably less stable than the interglacials (and there are good reasons for that).

Transitional periods are the most unstable periods of all.

But getting back to the original point, glaciers will advance or retreat in response to climate change. The more dramatic the change, the more pronounced the response.

8 posted on 12/06/2004 11:03:23 AM PST by cogitator
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To: cogitator
Evaluation of climate stability requires a stated time-frame under which that evaluation can be conducted. Since the end of the last glacial (or I could say since the beginning of this interglacial) the Earth's climate has been extraordinarily stable.

Not according to the data, only after it has been minipulated to contracted recored history. The whole hockey stick theory is proven bunk. Besides, our planet's history is some 4,000,000,000 years old, if we finally stay relatively stable for 1,000 years (0.000025% of existance), does that prove our climate finally stabablized. I guess the first 99.999925% of our history as being unstable doesn't mean anything to you.

9 posted on 12/06/2004 11:09:56 AM PST by Always Right
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To: cogitator

WOW,thats one beautiful road in iceland.


10 posted on 12/06/2004 11:13:57 AM PST by CommieCrusher
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To: Always Right
Not according to the data, only after it has been minipulated to contracted recored history. The whole hockey stick theory is proven bunk. Besides, our planet's history is some 4,000,000,000 years old, if we finally stay relatively stable for 1,000 years (0.000025% of existance), does that prove our climate finally stabablized. I guess the first 99.999925% of our history as being unstable doesn't mean anything to you.

A, calm down. B, I've studied planetary geochemistry and I am well aware of Earth's overall geologic and climate history. There have been MAJOR fluctuations in Earth's climate, obviously, but the rate at which those changes occurred and the mechanisms that cause those changes (particularly when millions or hundreds of thousands of years is being considered) is considerably different than what causes changes over centuries or decades.

I was not addressing the hockey stick or the past 1000 years. I was talking about the post-glacial Holocene, the period we are in now.

Here's two illustrations:

Focus on the last interglacial to present:

Approximately the past 420,000 years:

The top graph encompasses approximately the final two rightmost horizontal grid ticks on the bottom graph. You can see how this whole past period of stability compares to the rest of the past 420,000 years in the bottom graph. It's almost impossible to find any period in the past 420,000 years when the temperature record has been this "calm" for this long.

I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm just trying to keep things in perspective. OK? These "Geology Pictures of the Week" I do are primarily for enjoyment and entertainment. I like to get serious elsewhere. But I'm always willing to discuss the climate change issues constructively, particularly when it comes to the science of the issue.

11 posted on 12/06/2004 11:26:15 AM PST by cogitator
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To: CommieCrusher
WOW,thats one beautiful road in iceland.

I have to wonder if it makes a sharp right or left turn just before running into the ice cap.

12 posted on 12/06/2004 11:27:09 AM PST by cogitator
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To: Always Right
So you're admitting that we're in a period of warming?

Seems to me that we have to live with it, whether anthropogenic or not. Clearly, bankrupting our economy on ridiculous false "solutions" won't help, but neither will ignoring a change just because it might be "natural."

Also, a better term would be "climate change" since it's generally not projected to be just a simplistic warming everywhere. Greater variability and extremes of weather is one of the characteristics that concerns me more than simple mean warming of air temperature.

Besides, based on past cycles, shouldn't we now be going into a cooler phase? If we're still getting warmer, then it's a deflection from "normal" and begs the question as to the cause.

I don't want a Mesozoic climate, even if it is only partly our fault. ;-)

The time scale point made by others is also very important. Where I am now (northern hemisphere, east coast USA), the sun is soon setting and it's getting colder each week. I see no global warming!

13 posted on 12/06/2004 12:12:24 PM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: cogitator

A beach picnic party here?
No wonder this GPS was in the discount bin!

14 posted on 12/06/2004 5:43:14 PM PST by Barnacle (We dodged the bullet to our head. Now we'd better get back to treating the cancer.)
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To: cogitator

Great pictures. Please add me to your ping list.


15 posted on 12/06/2004 10:02:14 PM PST by Cedar
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To: Barnacle

Yeah, the beach is a couple of klicks downslope.


16 posted on 12/07/2004 7:20:05 AM PST by cogitator
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To: Cedar
Please add me to your ping list.

Done!

17 posted on 12/07/2004 7:21:06 AM PST by cogitator
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To: Gondring
I see no global warming!

LOL! Wait for Spring...

18 posted on 12/07/2004 7:24:57 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: cogitator
If it is warming, so what? I doubt that humans can stop it, anyway, and would we want to?

From the last 420,000 years, the temperature levels we have do not exceed the past temperature levels by so much as to be out of range, only the CO2 levels. This does not seem to be a causative realtionship, if the globe warmed in the past without the CO2 concentrations we see, merely a coincident phenomenon.

19 posted on 12/07/2004 7:28:42 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
Uh, Americans tend to want to control Mother Nature, rather than adapt to her whims and changes... you tell me if we would want to change the fact that our productive agriculture climate zones move to areas where there's no good soil, or if we don't mind increased frequencies of exterme temperatures, or more storms, or increased rainfall in areas that have stream channels equilibrated for lower discharges (further aggravated by extra asphalt ground covering), etc. The suggestion of what might be happening isn't just a nice little warming of the temperatures in general.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but the Vostok (420,000-year) record shows that the climate and greenhouse gas levels do correlate! Are you saying that previous termperatures don't correlate with greenhouse gas concentrations? Do you acknowledge that the earth was very different then, and that the continental configuration (influencing currents and precipitation, etc.) has a lot to do with things?

20 posted on 12/07/2004 8:39:46 AM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
From the last 420,000 years, the temperature levels we have do not exceed the past temperature levels by so much as to be out of range, only the CO2 levels. This does not seem to be a causative realtionship, if the globe warmed in the past without the CO2 concentrations we see, merely a coincident phenomenon.

It's more about the rate of change than the maximum temperature that might be achieved. It appears from the climate records that the main control of atmospheric CO2 concentrations on 1,000-10,000 year scales is the overall temperature of the ocean. Milankovitch forcing (orbital and rotational changes) influences the total insolation that the Earth receives, i.e. the energy input from the Sun. The climate "tends" toward an equilibrium, which is sensitive to the atmospheric CO2 concentration -- higher CO2 concentrations help to maintain warmer conditions, lower concentrations help to maintain colder conditions. Milankovitch forcing pushes the Earth's climate into transitions, notably the glacial/interglacial transitions (the big peaks and valleys in the graph), but many of the minor changes are also related to the Milankovitch cycles.

The transitions alter the Earth's radiative balance, which in turn forces the climate system to adjust the equilibrium temperature. As the oceans cool or warm in the system, atmospheric CO2 will decrease (cooling oceans absorbs more CO2) or increase (warming oceans release CO2). It takes several hundred years for the new equilibrium to "hold" after a major transition. When equilibrium exists, temperatures generally only change 0.2 C per century or less.

What is happening now is that atmospheric CO2 is increasing without any external forcing, a very unusual situation in a relatively stable climate regime (which was the point of the first graph). The climate system will respond to this, and the questions that need to be answered are by how much and how fast. Ecosystems can adjust to change, but there are limits to how quickly then can respond, and the alternate to responding is collapsing. Rapid changes are always the most difficult to mitigate (which seems obvious, but that's the core of the issue).

21 posted on 12/07/2004 10:47:02 AM PST by cogitator
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To: Gondring
First off, Yes, there is a correlation in the data, however, I doubt folks were tearing the asphalt up in their SUV, a couple hundred thousand years ago.

While the correlation exists, (and I should have specified this), the correlation is not likely one of anthropogenic CO2 in former episodes.

The idea that the CO2 is an anthropogenic problem that can be significantly impacted by Kyoto or any other protocol is dubious.

Apparently the same thing can occur without human input in a natural system, and the system compensates.

As for humans, we are an adaptable lot, and will relocate to the most agreeable climates. That is responsible for the current population distribution, as much as anything else.

We also inhabit less agreeable climatic niches.

As for areas with no soil, think of vast prairies which currently get little rainfall, from Nebraska and Kansas to the northern reaches of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, having a longer growing season and the moisture to utilize it. WOW!

The only thing which is certain in life, and in the life of a planet, is change.

Humans will adapt or die. Stream channels will cut themselves wider and deeper, if we don't waste our resources trying vainly to keep them where they are. Nature will do just fine, as it has in the past.

People (not the human race, but people, individually) will be inconvenienced, their property values will change, etc. Oh well. Maybe they can file for tax relief.

22 posted on 12/07/2004 10:55:48 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: cogitator

So what is the chance that the CO2 Jump in Antarctic Ice cores coincides with humans running around down there? What about contamination?


23 posted on 12/07/2004 10:59:44 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
So what is the chance that the CO2 Jump in Antarctic Ice cores coincides with humans running around down there? What about contamination?

Minimal. The Vostok ice core results correlate well (but not exactly, because Antarctica is an unusual place, and because the hemispheres do exhibit different climate patterns) with ice cores obtained in other places -- the Arctic and mountain ice fields/glaciers.

24 posted on 12/07/2004 12:56:25 PM PST by cogitator
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To: Smokin' Joe; cogitator
First of all, see post #21. Cogitator explains quite well the reason why previous temperature and fluctuations aren't the point. There's natural fluctuation in CO2 as a response to temperature, but we are now introducing an anthropogenic forcing that can drive the equilibration in reverse direction of previous adjustments.

As for the effects and the survival of mankind...well, if your idea of a "win" is that humans will survive, then kick back, pop a beer, and forget fighting terrorism, getting a job, etc. Things will work out...more or less.

The point is that if the climate changes such that the carrying capacity of the planet is reduced a great deal, food will be far less plentiful (grown either in poor soils with good climate, or bad climate where the soils are good), construction costs will be increased, infrastructure will require reworking, disease will likely increase, etc.

I think you fail to understand or appreciate things like the time required for development of a mature soil profile, for example. Soil and dirt aren't the same things (except to an engineer ;-). Our water and food supplies rely heavily on soil profiles that took 10,000 years (in the northern US) to develop. A rapid change of climate that moves us to the Canadian Shield won't just be a walk in the park, even if it's balmy there.

25 posted on 12/07/2004 8:13:15 PM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
The areas I described are currently grain producing regions. Wheat just doesn't grow out of rock, but even the Canadian shield has soil on it (not just 'dirt').

As for the species, success is survival.

My point is that, just like other species we will adapt or die. We humans, by benefit of our technologies have a good chance to handle whatever comes our way. There may be some adjustments, though.

I am a Geologist, and I'm looking at this from a geological perspective. That is a time scale which really doesn't give a damn about construction costs and 5 year trends. What will be happening in 1000 years, or 100,000? Now we're talking. COnstruction costs go up when forests are closed to logging (and then burn or become infested with beetles), and a year of too wet or cold weather will affect food stocks. We are (hopefully) past the hunter/gatherer phase of our development, but if we do not follow through with our technological capabilities and establish our species off-planet as well, our toehold on existance as a species is guaranteed to fail, and do so with the most easily recoverable resources used up. Think long term, and not just one planet, and you get a different view of things.

Unfortunately, we waste our time and energy quibbling about whether we are going to become the victims of our capabilities instead of using those selfsame capabilities to position ourselves to do something which could mitigate the problem.

With or without us, the planet will survive.

26 posted on 12/08/2004 12:31:44 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
With or without us, the planet will survive.

Agreed.

But this geologist has a bit of self-interest in it being with us.

And perhaps we're not too different in our views... I also wish action to be taken, and am highly disappointed at the problems being encountered with iron-seeding experiments, for example.

27 posted on 12/08/2004 1:36:45 AM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
Actually, I think Methane Hydrates are part of the equilibrium equation, When there is an Ice Age, and sea level drops, my hunch is that the reduction in hydrostatic pressure allows gas boils and releases of methane which turn the temp cycle around.

On the other end of the cycle, the question is, what caused the jumps in CO2 in the past, and are these mechanisms active today? I think we have become fixated on some processes and are not looking for the natural ones which caused warming in the past.

There are definite political implications in the anti-US Kyoto treaty which make the treaty's purpose highly suspect.

The industrial revolution's coal burning phase should have caused an anomaly, and I'm not sure it did. We are far more emission concious now, and yet the effects are being seen now. I know there are more energy consumers, but everyone cooked/heated with a fire in less efficient surroundings, so I would think emissions would be about even.

28 posted on 12/08/2004 2:27:17 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
I believe there are a great many negative feedback mechanisms that help in the equilibrium equation, and there are a great many processes that have been forcing factors in the past--even beyond Milankovich cycles.

There are definite political implications in the anti-US Kyoto treaty which make the treaty's purpose highly suspect.

Agreed, but that doesn't mean nothing should be done. The industrial revolution's coal burning phase should have caused an anomaly, and I'm not sure it did. We are far more emission concious now, and yet the effects are being seen now.

Concious that we emit more now than when we weren't so emission-concious? Well, yeah. No matter how concious, bottom line is how much is being emitted. And, of course, what is being emitted--particulates can be a factor in cooling, and more recent emissions have scrubbed many of those. Finally, what's the lag time required to see a change in the system?

Believe me, I'm well aware of the politics in climatology. I trashed my grad school career by refusing to toe the party line (and thereby get lots of funding, too), actually looked at results with a >gasp!< critical eye. But even so, I have to admit that there's a likelihood the climate is changing, and a possibility that we are either doing it, or can take action to minimize it...thereby minimizing the disruption to ourselves.

29 posted on 12/08/2004 5:35:01 AM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
The part I don't like about Kyoto is that it is an American industry buster.

We have traditionally been some of the most innovative people on the planet (although the public schools may put an end to that), and it is our innovation and quite possibly industry which is most likely to enable us to have an effect on the climate, assuming any effect can be had.

30 posted on 12/08/2004 6:09:47 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Agreed.

I think we need to come up with a reasonable alternative approach, other than just seeming to ignore it.


31 posted on 12/08/2004 4:45:02 PM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
For instance, if the problem is one of too much heat, (think about this) then a relatively small solar interceptor could be placed inside Earth's orbit to reduce solar intensity. Before you flame the idea, the energy intercepted/produced could be used for industry, and to keep the unit(s) in place. This would be a win/win for off planet development.

Instead, we piddle around reducing our technological capability.

Right now, this species has all its eggs in one basket. One major impact, one really nasty global conflict, and it's game over, or back to scrounging berries for a living.

While the planet might go on, it would be nice to think humans would, too.

This is why I think development of industry and self-sustaining colonies off-planet is essential to humanity's future.

We spend tremendous resources supporting people on this planet who choose to be no-loads. Supporting the intentionally non-productive only encourages non-productivity. Why not put those resources into achieving things which will benefit the species?

32 posted on 12/08/2004 11:46:23 PM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming! Bring it ON!)
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To: Smokin' Joe

My assertion is that the things you mention are not on the path we are currently pursuing. I think we should be starting an effort to pursue a space elevator, for example. That would be helpful for your solar interceptor idea. Perhaps ongoing climate research would help us to determine where to best place the interceptor(s).

My point is that we should not deny the climate change, but act to address it. That seems to be what you are suggesting, too. I never said Kyoto was the answer.

I don't think a major impact is very likely on our timescale, compared to the threat we pose to ourselves, but regardless of what causes the threat, you're right--we should pursue alternatives. Perhaps this is another reason to push for a functional international body, as a replacement for the United-Against-America Nations.


33 posted on 12/09/2004 5:52:18 AM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
ALthough a functioning international body is, perhaps, an eventual ideal, it was nationalistic competition which put man on the moon. International bodies have demonstrated propensity for corruption for economic and political reasons, and as such, probably will be less than optimal.

More developments were made more rapidly during the era of racing to the moon, with nationalistic concerns as the impetus.

The spin-offs have profoundly changed our world.

Even if a space elevator proves infeasible for now, colonizing the moon could lead to the industry in space where lift costs are possibly far less than those from Earth.

We should have a colony, mining and manufacturing, there already, but we got sidetracked in a war on poverty which has only impoverished us all.

It amazes me that more people are not willing to look for solutions off-planet, rather than castrate our potential to go there.

34 posted on 12/09/2004 6:02:13 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
ALthough a functioning international body is, perhaps, an eventual ideal, it was nationalistic competition which put man on the moon. International bodies have demonstrated propensity for corruption for economic and political reasons, and as such, probably will be less than optimal.

I'm not suggesting an international body would be the driving force for accomplishing this, but this is an endeavour unlike the moonwalk. The impact of these proposals are global, while little effect resulted to others from our nationalistic activities in the trip to the moon. It's perhaps a moral and ethical obligation, rather than a practical expedient.

The spin-offs have profoundly changed our world.

I am well aware of this fact. My father used to worked for NASA and so did I, later. The "Spinoffs" books were always a wonderful delight--my favorite was the "Pig Pregnancy Detector" back in '78 or whenever. 'twas about as far removed from the space program as you could get!

It amazes me that more people are not willing to look for solutions off-planet, rather than castrate our potential to go there.

As a favourite author of mine would say, the moon is a harsh mistress. :-)

Actually, a space elevator is not too far off. Check out Space Elevator: Momentum Building. Its benefits to a moon colonization project would be great. I'm not sure, though, whether a moon colony would have economic benefits sufficient to justify its existence. Don't you wish they'd found nice kimberlites and secondarily enriched hydrothermal quartz veins (with some interesting mineral deposits) instead of all that basalt and anorthosite? At least there's the helium-3 we could possibly use for fusion reactors.

35 posted on 12/09/2004 6:59:53 AM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
The EIGHT most abundant Element Found in the Earth’s Crust: a. Oxygen 46% b. Silicon 28% c. Aluminum 8% d. Iron 6% e. Magnesium 4% f. Sodium 3% g. Calcium 2% h. Potassium 2%

If the moon is more mafic, the Iron, Calcium, and magnesium content increase, but the building blocks are there for building blocks. SIO2 (quartz) glass, Iron, Aluminum, and Magnesium, and all we need is the ability to vaporize and concentrate respective elements differentially, in a low G environment.

A calutron like apparatus comes to mind.

Solar power. Not free, but cheap.

The possibilities are mind boggling. Why ship it when you can make it there?

As for what is there, we don't have that good a handle on the moon to know what is present. People walk over mineral deposits here all the time.

It is the ability to process them economically that drives the Earth markets. When weighed against lift costs from Earth, there is a lot of room to take what we would consider uneconomical here and utilize it there, especially when environmental factors and energy are an entirely different story.

36 posted on 12/09/2004 7:24:33 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming!)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Well, you know as well as I that the elemental composition isn't the relevant point as much as the mineral composition. If it were, we'd be mining pyrites as much as hematites and other ores, and quarrying feldspar for more than Bon Ami cleansing powder (I know, I know...it's used in ceramics and glasses... I'm joking, and saying it's not our aluminum ore, for example...)

And just because much of the surface of the moon (mares) are basaltic doesn't mean it's wonderful Iron/Calcium/Magnesium ore. If there are some nice Sudbury-style deposits from the impact sites, then that would be nice, but you're right that we don't know enough about that yet. Let's set up some seismic stations before we commit to a colony.

Besides, walking over minerals on earth is not comparable to the moon. There's a regolith there, but there's no glacial mantle, vegetation, etc., to interfere with our observations as much, and secondly, the moon doesn't have many of the features that created ore deposits here on earth. It doesn't mean there aren't some types of ore, but I don't think it will be a bonanza.

Solar power is a definite possibility. But just saying something is cheaper to make there than it would be to lift it up doesn't mean a lot...they are both far too expensive to make them feasibly competitive as products in an earth economy (except perhaps energy).


37 posted on 12/09/2004 12:44:26 PM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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To: Gondring
I guess I am trying to think past our gravity based minerals processing here on earth, toward dissociating individual component elements found in the rock and selectively concentrating them.

While some deposits are going to be far more lucrative than others, the ability to 'mine' more common rock for individual elements may be the key to successful colonization.

Chances are the rock will have to be removed to make habitable quarters, anyway.

Doubtless, there are relatively high ore concentrations of Fe, Ni, and others associated with at least some impact sites, but we probably have to think away from hydrothermal concentration, which is such an effective ore mineral concentrator here on Earth. (Sudbury is a supergene enrichmnent phenomenon, think more like French Creek.)

A high resolution gravity/magnetic survey might be a good start toward identifying larger ore bodies.

There may be ice to mine, as well, from small cometary impacts, and this could be even more valuable in the long run than the metals.

The rules are going to be different, because of low gravitational force, the duration of melts in a liquid state, and the lack of propensity for density stratification (lower G less effective).

That said, you don't have to worry about acid rain killing trees either, and the power to run gigawatt lasers to vaporize and ionize raw materials for concentration would be sunshine. NO cloudy days, either.

As for regolith, there is some, mainly ejecta blankets. As to how effectively that would mask ore bodies is anyone's guess. The things to not expect are placer deposits, secondary hydrothermal enrichment, and gossan development. Some of the rules will remain much the same, others just will not apply.

38 posted on 12/09/2004 11:02:38 PM PST by Smokin' Joe (I'm from North Dakota and I'm all FOR Global Warming!)
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To: Smokin' Joe
I guess I am trying to think past our gravity based minerals processing here on earth, toward dissociating individual component elements found in the rock and selectively concentrating them.

While some deposits are going to be far more lucrative than others, the ability to 'mine' more common rock for individual elements may be the key to successful colonization.

Okay, elemental mining and extraction might be the key to successful colonization. I thought you might be suggesting it would be worthwhile on earth. I think it wouldn't be for a long time, and that the harnessing of energy from the moon would be an earlier step required to make it feasible. Once we have that, it's cheaper to beam the energy to earth and manufacture here--requiring only self-sufficient manufacturing for the colony. (That is, I don't picture the colony providing much of anything to earth except energy, land area, and perhaps some specialty manufacturing.)

You're right that ore bodies would be formed differently from earth, of course, and I have to admit that I was unaware Sudbury was a supergene enrichment--I was thinking more of density stratification...thanks for the correction, I'm a Quaternary geologist. :-) The point of it being an impact-generated irruptive structure, though, is what I was getting at....i.e., source, rather than just the ore concentration. Mare basalts would have heavy metals but I imagine they would be more homogeneous than a good ore.

Obviously high-resolution gravity/magnetic surveys would be useful, but I think we can begin those long before the other hurdles. I was thinking the seismic would be a bit more advanced but doable with current technology, too.

Anyway, given that we are talking about a self-supporting colony, then I agree. But it won't support earth by mineral exploitation unless we make unexpected selenological discoveries.

And I think a space elevator would be a good place to start for supporting a colony *and* earth. :-)

39 posted on 12/12/2004 8:46:23 AM PST by Gondring (They can have my Bill of Rights when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!)
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