Journey to the Center of the Mirth

You may have heard about this project:

Jeff L. writes in WUWT Tips and Notes:

You have to see this version of climate insanity – using climate alarmism to justify drilling BILLION dollar well to the mantle. I am a geologist & I love the idea of drilling a well to the mantle, but selling it on the idea that it is some how related to climate change is COMPLETELY INSANE !!

Here’s the story, you have to read it to believe it:

http://www.iodp.org/why-does-scientific-ocean-drilling-matter-to-you

Why Does Scientific Ocean Drilling Matter To You?

Increasing population and use of resources and energy has made global environment and climate change one of the major challenges posed by the 21st century. Research on deep-sea drill cores tells a story of profound climate and environmental change of the past that helps us to better understand the nature, mechanisms and driving forces behind such changes. And therefore provides a context in which to monitor and understand the importance of ongoing changes as we see them unfold on annual to human time scale. Can the past history show how dramatic and rapid changes can be? Are there signs of imminent, major changes that can be observed? How well can we model past history of global change? Such knowledge is fundamental in order to predict how dramatic future change could be, and where it may take us in terms of changing climate zones, change of sea-level and the impact on marine and terrestrial life.

It also matters to society because many of Earth’s most dynamic processes such as violent earthquakes and volcanism takes place within the oceans. These events pose major, immediate hazards to a large number of people. Placing observatories in boreholes deep within the seabed can help us understand the cycle and frequency of earthquakes. From the drill cores scientists can glean information on the history and magnitude of seismic and volcanic events, and their impact on the environment.

Drill cores from deep within the crust below the oceans are also critical for understanding the overall dynamics and history of planet Earth. New ocean crust is constantly being formed as part of the plate tectonic cycle, and subsequently being pushed back in the Earth’s mantle along tectonic subduction zones overlain by the volcanic arcs thought to be the building place for the continental crust we live on and utilize for resources.

Ocean drilling also has discovered that microbial life extends kilometer-deep into the seabed and suggests the presence of a huge, largely unknown biomass that may offer opportunities ranging from scientific insights into the development and sustainability of life under extreme conditions to possible industrial applications of unknown genetic material.

Understanding the complex working of our planet, its interplay with life, and the potential changes to global climate and environment caused by human activity is simply no longer just an option to satisfy scientific curiosity: It has become a critical societal responsibility for sustainable development within the 21st century. This is why ocean drilling sciences matters to all of us.

The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program is a research program global in scope and participation, and the only of its kind.

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147 Responses to Journey to the Center of the Mirth

  1. Matt says:

    I am reading here in other news the drill will be 10Km – so maybe it is rather 6 miles than 6 Km…

  2. vukcevic says:

    In search of the true global warming, deeper they go more of it down there. :)

  3. AleaJactaEst says:

    OK, some realism injected into this post – I actually worked on the JOIDES Resolution in the 90s as a tech (we called some of the scientists pinheads! – reflecting their social skills) but the statement “Research on deep-sea drill cores tells a story of profound climate and environmental change of the past that helps us to better understand the nature, mechanisms and driving forces behind such changes.” is true. A great deal of coring activity done onboard Resolution studies shallow sedimentary facies which do provide a scientific window onto the climate of the past using many recognised techniques.

    What I do agree with however, is that drilling a 6-10km hole/core into crystalline igneous crust and mantle will show us nothing related to climate. However, from experience,, the pinheads were all fully paid up members of the Kool-Aid club and the techs tended to be the realists. Work for the Gubment, drink de Kool-Aid.

  4. Mark Smith says:

    “many of Earth’s most dynamic processes such as violent earthquakes and volcanism takes place within the oceans”- What earthquakes come from water? Wow those seimologists and vulcanologists had it totally wrong.

  5. Peter Ward says:

    It’s beautifully written but doesn’t seem to make any sense. I think the key is the clever linking of “environment and climate” change. The researchers are interested in the first but they know the money’s in the second. So putting both together gets the money for what they want to do. And they write a press release that means whatever you want it to mean in order to justify it.

  6. Bill Robards says:

    I suspect they will drill in the deep marine trenches where the distance to the mantle is shorter. The drilling platform will be a ship holding its position over the deeps, hence the 10 km drill to get down six km.

  7. wayne says:

    Hmm, no mention of the pressures they expect to find, no mention of how they plan to handle possible uncontrollable pressures they may unleash, are these environmentalist scientists running this circus? I did notice the prevalent references right off the bat to “global environment”, “increasing population” and “climate change”. Sure seems if this were to become Pandora’s Keyhole they may very well literally change the Earth’s climate.

    For me to feel a bit more comfortable with this idea I would want many more technical details and to make sure this isn’t even remotely managed by climatologists of any flavor. BP thought they had all of the bases covered too on that hole in the gulf and look what curves nature can throw at you.

  8. Once they drill through the mantel, what’s to keep the liquid mush from spewing up and incinerating them all? What will they learn that they can’t learn from studying volcano lava? Do we have the technology to make drill bits that won’t melt as they approach the core?

  9. Disko Troop says:

    That’s a lot of torque.

  10. cui bono says:

    In the 1950s there was the ‘Moho’ proposal to drill down through the ocean sediments. Since “everyone knew” the continents and oceans had always been in the same place, drilling through the ocean crust would also drill through all the sediment on top, and give a complete history of life in the oceans.

    This was based on false premises. Nowhere in the oceans was the rock older than about 200 million years. The sediment wasn’t 10km thick – sometimes there wasn’t any at all. And, finally, the acceptance of Continental Drift killed it.

    So it’s not the first time this idea has been justified on the wrong science – then, no plate tectonics; now, climate change….

  11. jonny old boy says:

    here is my take on “the climate of the past”. Human evolution has clearly been altered by climatic upheavals. in the latest 30,000 years that change has been clear. But many species of dinosaur plodded about for Three Thousand times longer than that,,, millions of years, with little or no change. Its clear that for some reason that is not obvious to me, climate either changed and was irrelevant to them, or, it did not change that much over vast periods of time. Given these various “tipping points” of the alarmist world, this just does not add up. A bit of lateral thought I know but I thought I would pop it into the mix !!

  12. DirkH says:

    Peter Ward says:
    October 9, 2012 at 12:35 am
    “And they write a press release that means whatever you want it to mean in order to justify it.”

    I think I’ll steal the press release and start selling shoes with it.

  13. Ilma630 says:

    So, let me get this right. Drilling a billion dollar bore hole into a mantle that has been changing for millions of years has a bearing on man’s activities that has zero impact on the crust or mantle, for say 100 years. Of course – perfectly logical!

    One wonders what is going on in the minds of both those undertaking the drill, and also those who are funding it.

  14. alex says:

    Whatever they sell the project – be it search for climate (actual today) or for devil (would be actual 500 years ago) – searching for new is always welcome!

    It is much better to spend a few billions of dollars for science than for stupid wars!

  15. Robin Hewitt says:

    Maybe it has to be climate change related to get the funding?

  16. Anopheles says:

    http://aisjournal.com/2011/05/19/book-review-when-the-world-screamed-by-arthur-conan-doyle/

    Doyle wasn’t just Sherlock Holmes. I hope the drillers have a plan for this contingency.

  17. Alan the Brit says:

    Oh no, no, no, no, no, no! They must be banned from doing this, the Balck Hole that was created by the Large Hadron Collider will suck in all the Higgs-Bosun particles destroying our gravity, & the Earth will spin violently out of control flinging everything into space, we know this for a fact cos Gaia is such a delicate wall flower & is so so precious & sensitive to us human beans! The Sky will then definitely fall in on those of us who are left! Sarc off! It makes a nice bed-time story though, what will they think of next, probably something really silly like sending a man to the moon or something equally impossible & ridiculous? ;-)

  18. In the bad old Soviet Union, to get a financing for any research or project, on any subject and for any purpose, one had to make reverend references to some works of Marx and Lenin, preferably with quotes, however tenuous or unrelated.

    Same here. In today’s sycophants’ parlance, dragging in “climate change” is tantamount to referring to “V. I. Lenin” in the USSR (and to quoting Scriptures or Koran among our more traditionally short-circuited brothers and sisters).

    Same with the modern “peer review” reptilian circus. Same with the nonsense permeating Wikipedia.

    “Consensus” is just another word for the French “comme il faut”: say or do like everybody else, or else face obscurity, poverty, and rejection.

  19. If it succeeds it will increase knowledge but not about climate change. But there are many problems which will have to be overcome for the required end result.

  20. Streetcred says:

    They’d best be careful, Al reckons its millions of deg C down there !

  21. Kev-in-Uk says:

    AleaJactaEst says:
    October 9, 2012 at 12:29 am

    agreed – but I think the issue is the deliberate misrepresentation or misconception that deep rock drilling will help define palaeoclimate and thus climate change! The copresentation together of the two (deep rocks and climate change) strongly suggests a deliberate media attention grabbing stance and also a deliberate ploy to mislead the casual (layman) reader………..
    a definite fail in my book anyway…..

  22. KnR says:

    The AGW scare bucket is still deep and well filled , so researchers looking for cash will dip into it if they can , its hardly the first time that a study has ‘rammed in’ a reference to climate change to ensure funded .
    Ironically the sillier the ‘connection’ the more depute its brings to ‘the cause ‘ as it makes it look more like a scam .

  23. FrankK says:

    Yes clever to stick in the “climate’ word. Probably the best “climate
    research” money spent. Lets face it the worlds ultimate “sustainable” energy source – the hot core of our globe.

  24. Christopher Hanley says:

    But it’s several million degrees down there (Al Gore Nobel Laureate says so), isn’t that going to melt the aparatus.

  25. Robertvdl says:

    And if things go wrong ? Can’t we better drill on land ? Have we learned nothing from the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster !

  26. Tom Allen says:

    Yes, if you want some money for research it would be a wise move to tie it to “climate change”.

  27. cartoonasaur says:

    Geology and archaeology are the sciences that made me pay attention when Mr. Silly Mann erased the MWP and the LIA – I was pretty much a believer up until that point. And then, as I read further, very little made sense, but when I saw the constant inclusion of AGW into unrelated study after study, well, it all made sense – financial sense, of course…

    minor quibble –
    …and the only of its kind.
    could be
    …and the only one of its kind.

  28. H.R. says:

    What if they hit oil? ;o)

    Really neat. It’s sad that they had to tie it to climate change to get money. It should have been justified by the fact that we haven’t poked into the mantle before.

  29. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    The Russians tried this in the 60’s:

    http://www.damninteresting.com/the-deepest-hole/

    It lead to some interesting theories:

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/28111

  30. There will also be other “factual” discoveries made like –

    The biomass on the surface is over heating the interior of the Planet.
    The weight of humans creating untold pressure on subterranean blowfish.
    Ozone depletion affecting microbiome (sic) balance below the earth’s crust.
    The internal heat of the Planet is hotter than they thought possible.
    Parasitic growth increases as scientists dig deeper.

    Of course more studies, erm, taxpayers dollars will be required to further study other phenomena they encounter. What was that about that money pit again ?

  31. zbcustom says:

    I think Peter Ward has nailed it on the head. There is no money available unless you can work “climate” into the proposal. Furthermore, we can’t get too excited about scientists being a bit blase about a billion dollars. No one else seems to worry too much about the billions sloshing around for all sorts of questionable purposes. Even talk of trillions fails to rouse much excitement these days.

  32. steveta_uk says:

    By God these people are insane! Don’t they remeber what happened when the Daleks tried this?

  33. Iceland Deep Drilling Project
    http://iddp.is/

    The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) is a long term study of high-temperature hydrothermal systems in Iceland. The IDDP is a collaborative effort by a consortium of Icelandic power companies and the Icelandic government, formed to determine if utilizing supercritical geothermal fluids would improve the economics of power productions from geothermal fields.

    Over the next several years the IDDP expects to drill and test a series of boreholes that will penetrate supercritical zones believed to be present beneath three currently exploited geothermal fields in Iceland. This will require drilling to a depth of about 5 km in order to reach hydrothermal fluids at temperatures ranging from 450°C to ~600°C.

    A feasibility study completed in 2003 indicates that relative to the output from conventional geothermal wells, which are 2.5 km deep, a ten-fold increase in power output per well could result if fluid is produced from reservoirs hotter than 450°C .

    A typical 2.5 km-deep geothermal well in Iceland yields power equivalent to approximately 5 MWe. Assuming a similar volumetric inflow rate of steam, an IDDP well tapping a supercritical reservoir at temperatures above 450°C and at a pressure of 23-26 MPa may be expected to yield ~50 MWe.

    Some IDDP links:

    The National Energy Authority:
    http://www.nea.is/geothermal/the-iceland-deep-drilling-project/

    Landsvirkjun-The National Power Company:
    http://www.landsvirkjun.com/operations/research-and-development/iceland-deep-drilling-project/
    http://www.lvpower.is/projects/iddp/

    International Continental Scientific Drilling Program:
    http://www.icdp-online.org/front_content.php?idcat=709

    ISOR – Iceland Geosurvey:
    http://www.geothermal.is/deep-drilling-case-study/deep-drilling-project-iddp

    Iceland Deep Drilling Project Finds Magma (article):
    http://www.geothermal.org/09JulyAugust31.pdf

    Some more articles:

    http://www.jardhitafelag.is/media/PDF/Session06.pdf

    http://www.jardhitafelag.is/media/PDF/S06Paper095.pdf

    http://www.iodp.org/iodp_journals/5_Progress_Report_on_Iceland_SD4.pdf

    http://www.isor.is/sites/isor.is/files/The%20Iceland%20Deep%20Drilling%20Project%20%28IDDP%29%20Planning%20for%20the%20Second%20Deep%20Well%20at%20Reykjanes.pdf

  34. Ian Blanchard says:

    As a potential pinhead (copyright AleaJactaEst) and someone whose PhD supervisor went on two projects on JOIDES Resolution, I agree with all that (s)he says above – drilling into shallow sedimentary sequences and looking at both stable isotope profiles and (micro)fossil assemblages is one of the very few scientific ways of studying long term climate change. Drilling through ocean crust and into the mantle is scientifically interesting (at least to me as a geochemist) but will tell you 2/3rds of nothing about climate.

    The penultimate paragraph of the IODP blurb above was clearly included for PR purposes rather than having anything fundamental to say about the scientific merits of the research proposals.

  35. Solomon Green says:

    About five years ago my wife asked one of our sons-in-law, a molecular biologist, why there was so much being written about climate change. He explained that because climate science was both a dull subject and one where fanciful speculation was as much a part as true science, those practising it had found that if was difficult to secure funding. They then devised the idea of selling their wares to the politicians by warning that the earth was on the brink of warming disastrously. The sales pitch worked and huge amounts of funding was secured. Other scientists quickly learnt the lesson that attaching the word “climate” to a grant proposal contributed significantly to its prospects.
    There are very good reasons for exploring down to the mantle. Thomas Gold’s theory
    http://trilogymedia.com.au/Thomas_Gold/usgs.html
    has never, so far as I know been disproved.
    Would the geologists who are behind this project have received any funding if they had not suggested that it had a bearing on “climate change”?

  36. focoloco says:

    I might be wrong, but I think it is not uncommon for the oil industry to drill deeper than 6km. Quite a bit deeper in fact.
    Here is Exxon, 12km: http://rt.com/business/news/exxon-sakhalin-well-record-727/

    And there are several more. I’ve been on a land rig that did 8km in Alberta.

  37. baltwo says:

    Ocean drilling also has discovered that microbial life extends kilometer-deep into the seabed and suggests the presence of a huge, largely unknown biomass that may offer opportunities ranging from scientific insights into the development and sustainability of life under extreme conditions to possible industrial applications of unknown genetic material.

    They just can’t get off the “fossil fuel” myth. The hypothesis has been been falsified and Thomas Gold’s and the Russian’s abiotic hyplthesis almost proven. See Corsi’s “Black Gold Stranglehold” and “The Great Oil Conspiracy” for details.

  38. Bloke down the pub says:

    As everything that governments spend money on these days seems to need the global warming justification, I wonder how long it is before someone suggests invading Iran to stop them from pumping CO₂ into the atmosphere.

  39. Berényi Péter says:

    The biggest mystery about this is how the Russians could reach a depth of 12 km in 1983 (29 years ago) at the Kola Superdeep Borehole without mentioning climate change? That should have been impossible.

    However, an even deeper(!) question is how crystalline bedrock can “boil with Hydrogen”?

  40. Francisco says:

    The mantle is supposed to be already exposed in some places:

    [2007]… A team of scientists will embark on a voyage next week to study an “open wound” on the Atlantic seafloor where the Earth’s deep interior lies exposed without any crust covering.[...]
    http://www.livescience.com/1317-mission-study-earth-gaping-open-wound.html

  41. pat says:

    9 Oct: Times of India: Pratibha Masand: Global warming behind monsoon’s extended stay?
    While its average withdrawal date is September 28, the monsoon has been stretching its stay to October in the past few years.
    In 2005, when the city received record rainfall, it retreated on October 7. A year later, it withdrew in the second week of October. This trend continued till 2010, when it made its exit in the third week of October.
    While weather experts are uncertain about reason behind the October shift, they agree that the monsoon pattern is changing. “The shift may be because of global warming, one cannot say for sure,” said a former official from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). “Research on the subject is currently on and until it is complete, we cannot really point out the precise reason.” …
    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Global-warming-behind-monsoons-extended-stay/articleshow/16731432.cms

  42. mfo says:

    From 1999:
    “Japanese scientists say the Earth could be dry and barren within a billion years because the oceans are draining into the planet’s interior. Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology have calculated that about 1.12 billion tonnes of water leaks into the Earth each year.

    Eventually, lead researcher Shigenori Maruyama and his colleagues believe, all of it will disappear. “Earth’s surface will look very much like the surface of Mars, where a similar process seems to have taken place,”

    “His figures, which he describes as conservative, suggest the leakage has caused sea levels to drop by around 600 metres in the last 750 million years. This trend has been largely obscured in the geological record by shorter-term variations in sea levels.”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/442040.stm

    Scientists will have to ensure they can plug the hole to stop the oceans draining away. :o]

  43. Kasuha says:

    Of course, mentioning Global Warming in your project makes it more likely to get accepted.
    I bet even Anthony could get some federal funds for WUWT if he applied a correctly worded grant proposal. After all, all of the site is dedicated to suppressing the threat of Global Warming, or isn’t it?

  44. Mike McMillan says:

    Shades of Project Mohole. Maybe they’ll have more luck this time.

  45. Sceptic lank says:

    Clearly the drill hole will fill with water when ti is completed. This will result in lowering sea levels and hence countering the result of melting ice which is, according to alarmists, caused by the CO2 generated by drilling the hole in the first place. Hence this must be sustainable drilling.

  46. The USA had a Mohole project in the 1960s that got abandoned due to no further funding after drilling a few hundred meters. I was a teenager at the time but recall feeling cheated that important science had been terminated to fund scientifically less important things like the moon landings.

  47. gofer says:

    Maybe they will make a huge oil discovery. How ironic would that be?

  48. Coldish says:

    “From the mantle they hope to retrieve samples which will answer some questions about geology, climate change and life here on earth.” If, so they are likely to be disappointed.

    Deep sea drilling is nothing new – between 1968 and 1985 the DSDP (Deep Sea Drilling Project) drilled more than 600 holes into the ocean floor producing a wealth of material with relevance to paleoclimate as well as to many other processes. However as AleaJactaEst has already suggested above, drilling an expensive hole into the earth’s mantle can be guaranteed (a) to produce no information whatsoever regarding atmospheric processes such as climate change (b) to be a wasteful misallocation of resources as compared with drilling many more shallower boreholes into the sedimentary portion of the oceanic crust.

    The idea of drilling into the earth’s mantle has been floated before, notably in the form of Project Mohole, which actually managed to drill a few shallow holes in the ocean floor off California between 1958 and 1966, when the project was wisely abandoned. See http://www.nas.edu/history/mohole

    The effort put into Mohole was not however wasted, as it demonstrated the feasibility of deep-sea drilling and coring of the sedimentary layer. The experience paved the way for the DSDP and JOIDES (Joint Oceanographic Institutions Deep Earth Sampling) programmes. The IODP could make a valuable contribution to science by continuing the work started by these earlier programmes. However, if their prime aim is to drill into the mantle, then they should drop the misleading claim of answering questions about ‘climate change and life’ and admit that what they actually want to learn about is the geology of the transition between the basaltic lower crust and the uppermost part of the peridotite mantle – a fascinating topic for a few, but of limited interest to most scientists.

  49. Man Bearpig says:

    ”You have to see this version of climate insanity – using climate alarmism to justify drilling BILLION dollar well to the mantle. I am a geologist & I love the idea of drilling a well to the mantle, but selling it on the idea that it is some how related to climate change is COMPLETELY INSANE !!”

    It was probably the only way they could get funding for such a journey. At least they found people stupid enough to fund the project and they sure knew where to look.

  50. Given our recent discussion about gasses from the ocean floor and the world filling up with carbon oxides etc, and now this drilling …

    … I’m put in mind of a science fiction story I read years ago. I’m not certain whether it started out with some sort of similar drilling project or whether it was just a natural “thing” that happened, or if it was a drilling into some specific “low gravity” or “possible natural gas” puzzle area or something, but the upshot was that we opened up a VAST underground chamber of (I believe) Nitrogen.

    Now nitrogen is fairly innocuous, but the roof of the chamber (somewhere under the ocean, started collapsing as pressure was released — thereby widening the initial waterspout type gusher being forced up — and scientists eventually determined that this “chamber” was TRULY vast and that over the next year or two the atmosphere would become gradually unlivable simply due to dropping oxygen concentrations.

    Anyone know the story offhand?

    And now back to your regularly scheduled Science Channel…

    – MJM

  51. pat says:

    i like the subtle difference in the headline, and the fact a 10.10 guy is still around!

    9 Oct: Mother Jones: Duncan Clark: Can We Bank on Recessions to Keep Global Warming In Check?
    (Duncan Clark is a consultant editor on the Guardian environment desk and strategy director of 10:10)
    Based on a review of World Bank statistics of more than 150 nations from 1960 to 2008, the research – published in Nature Climate Change on Sunday – found that emissions of carbon dioxide rose by an average of 0.7% for every 1% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. But emissions fell just 0.43% for every 1% decline in GDP per capita.
    The study’s author, Richard York of the University of Oregon, said:…
    http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/10/can-we-bank-recessions-keep-global-warming-check

    8 Oct: Guardian: Duncan Clark: Why we can’t bank on Recessions to Keep Global Warming In Check?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2012/oct/08/recessions-global-warming-check?newsfeed=true
    (Guardian profile: Duncan Clark is a consultant editor on the Guardian environment desk. He has written and edited a number of books on environmental and technology topics as well as working at BBC Worldwide and 10:10.)

  52. cedarhill says:

    Volcanoes apparently do effect climate? At least there’s a shred of usefulness if it advances our understaning of things like plate tectonics and volcanoes, etc. So far I think NASA wins the prize of most money for climate change with this:
    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msp98/why.html
    At least the mantle is a lot closer and any science done may actually help geology along. But climate change on Mars? The last time someone of note studied climate change on Venus we got Hansen and the Hordes of Phil Jones.

  53. pat says:

    (2 pages) 8 Oct: Investors Business Daily: Paul Driessen: Please Spare Us Any More Climate-Change Alarmism
    The tales of doom remain standard media and political fare, even as the science continues to evolve — and ClimateGate and other revelations of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shenanigans and duplicity join the dissection of Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph in reducing public anxiety.
    New theories about solar cycles, cosmic rays and the dominant role of solar activity in determining Earth’s climate are becoming ever more accepted…
    The hysterical and spectacularly wrong predictions would be hysterically funny, except for one thing. They are being used to justify policies that are trashing our economy…
    Our weather has hardly become any “weirder” than what Earth and humanity have faced countless times before. However, the “new normal” in political discourse, scientific research, democratic institutions, laws and regulations has definitely gotten both weirder and more pernicious.
    Contrary to President Obama’s intent, we don’t need to “fundamentally transform” our energy, economy or society. We need to fundamentally transform the political system that diverts our attention and resources from real challenges, analyses and solutions.
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-viewpoint/100812-628600-predictions-about-global-warming-hysterical-and-spectacularly-wrong.htm

    2 Oct: Sacramento Bee: by Physicians for Civil Defense: “Green” Predictions Need Reality Check, Doctors Say
    “Green” alarmists make dire predictions, which are overdue for a reality check, states Jane Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense, according to the September issue of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter.
    In 1983, they predicted that forests would disappear in the first half of the 21st century. As of 2010, forests covered 31% of the earth’s surface. Deforestation is decreasing, and some areas show net gains.
    Global warming was expected to cause a loss of carbon stored on land, according to another 1983 prediction. Instead, global carbon uptake by land and oceans doubled between 1960 and 2010…
    “Apocalyptic Green predictions are regularly shown to be wrong,” states Dr. Orient. Yet they are being used to justify disastrously expensive policies, such as shutting down electrical generating stations…ETC
    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/10/02/4875142/green-predictions-need-reality.html

  54. The Russians have already drilled on land to a depth of 12.2 km, at which depth the rocks became plastic and unable to be drilled. 1970 – 1994. Search Kola super deep borehole.

  55. Francisco says:

    wayne says:
    October 9, 2012 at 12:44 am
    Hmm, no mention of the pressures they expect to find, no mention of how they plan to handle possible uncontrollable pressures they may unleash, are these environmentalist scientists running this circus? I did notice the prevalent references right off the bat to “global environment”, “increasing population” and “climate change”. Sure seems if this were to become Pandora’s Keyhole they may very well literally change the Earth’s climate.

    For me to feel a bit more comfortable with this idea I would want many more technical details and to make sure this isn’t even remotely managed by climatologists of any flavor. BP thought they had all of the bases covered too on that hole in the gulf and look what curves nature can throw at you.
    ================================

    There is some speculation whether drilling into the mantle could trigger some kind of eruption. Apparently not — not a true magma eruption anyway: http://tinyurl.com/8cmag6r Of course, unpleasant surprises are always a possibility in drilling. For example the Lusi mud volcano in Indonesia (still active) was apparently caused by drilling in 2006. From the end of the linked article:

    “While drilling couldn’t cause the eruption of a true volcano, mud volcanoes are a different story. In 2006, a gas company pulled its drill bit out of an exploratory well in Indonesia, triggering a fracture in the rock that turned out to be holding back tremendous amounts of mud. (The company claims that an earthquake caused the eruption.) The Lusi mud volcano began spewing 100,000 tons of mud daily, quickly covering three square miles of land in 65 feet of sediment. The eruption has continued to this day, and some scientists predict the flow could last more than 80 years.”

    And the sinking of Lake Peigneur in a drilling accident was a pretty spectacular event:

  56. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Bill Robards says:
    October 9, 2012 at 12:42 am
    I suspect they will drill in the deep marine trenches where the distance to the mantle is shorter. The drilling platform will be a ship holding its position over the deeps, hence the 10 km drill to get down six km.

    C’mon Bill. You suspect? While your speculation is quasi-correct, it misses the point. Yes, ocean crust stretches a tad where it plunges into a subduction zone, which may make it thinner to a degree, but that doesn’t make much of a difference. Drilling into a trench isn’t much better than drilling elsewhere on a plate formed of oceanic basalt. Why would adding 11 km to the marine riser in order to drill another 10 km of crust be of advantage? I don’t know either.

  57. Maus says:

    I’ve cracked fun about it before, but it’s still a bit perverse to see how thorough the dementia is. Time to warm up the typewriter and dash off a grant application to study the carbon emissions and various sequestration devices of idling cars in parking lots. Especially as they interact with differing microclimates in rural and urban areas. The work will investigate differing refueling practices, canopies, vents, and ducting issues involved. As a side benefit research costs will be mitigated through the sale of consumer goods, which assists in self-selection of study participants in a manner complying with ethical norms for human experimentation.

    All that’s needed is a mere — puts pinky to mouth — $1 Billion dollars. Bonus: I get the AGW crowd to make me a mogul of 7-11 franchises in Southern California.

  58. tgmccoy says:

    Shades of Professor Challenger:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Challenger
    He was one of my favorite Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Characters..

  59. klem says:

    Look, Geo’s have been wanting to drill to the mantle for decades and have never been able to get the money and technology together to pull it off. Now, using the excuse of studying climate change, they just might get it done. I hate to admit this but I’m all for it.

    We’ve spent (and lost) many more billions on wind turbine and solar projects. I’d rather see it spent on a project like this than on more projects like those.

    cheers

  60. Gary Pearse says:

    If they are looking for Trenberth’s missing ocean heat, they sure as heck are going to find it.

  61. LazyTeenager says:

    Well the climate change thing seems a bit of a stretch but I wouldn’t pass judgement until I see the research program.

    After all the drilling could intersect subduction zones containing carbonates from earlier eras leading to better understanding of past clinates.

    An understanding of the way the continents were formed could come out if this work. That process of course affected the formation of the very early atmosphere.

  62. Jim Turner says:

    Re: Solomon Green says: “… climate science was … a dull subject…”
    Made me think of Eric Olthwaite – if you don’t know who he is, find out here:

    http://www.bbcshop.com/comedy/ripping-yarns-the-complete-series-dvd/invt/7953361/

    early climate research from the BBC – only a matter of time before it is cited by the IPCC

  63. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Sorry for the apparent thread-bombing, but some of the questions in here reflect a complete lack of understanding of earth processes.

    Rhoda Ramirez says:
    October 9, 2012 at 12:45 am
    Once they drill through the mantel, what’s to keep the liquid mush from spewing up and incinerating them all? What will they learn that they can’t learn from studying volcano lava? Do we have the technology to make drill bits that won’t melt as they approach the core?

    It’s the “mantle”, and perhaps more correctly called the ‘asthenosphere’. It’s not made of liquid mush, but rather hot material with the consistency of toffee. It doesn’t ‘spew’. Even if it could, it would congeal once it destroyed the marine riser and met with sea water. Volcano lava is lava. The mantle is not. It is a tad early in the discussion to worry about melting a drill bit in the Core, which is a couple of thousand kilometers BELOW the mantle. Nonetheless, it’s pretty hot, and the drilling mud is going to be superheated by the effort…if the plasticity of the deep ocean crust doesn’t cause them to get stuck in the hole, or twist off the drilling assembly.

    Robertvdl says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:16 am
    And if things go wrong ? Can’t we better drill on land ? Have we learned nothing from the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster !

    Please. If “we” stopped everything because it might go wrong, we’d be living in the dark ages. Things have already gone wrong with this project: It’s reason for being. No, “we” can’t drill on land. The continental lithosphere is substantially thicker than oceanic lithosphere. Yes, “We” learned something from the BP disaster: it wasn’t as bad as everyone screamed it would be. Drilling down to the Mohorovicic Discontinuity deliberately avoids a deep sediment pile, where most petroleum is found.

    baltwo says:
    October 9, 2012 at 3:10 am

    They just can’t get off the “fossil fuel” myth. The hypothesis has been been falsified and Thomas Gold’s and the Russian’s abiotic hyplthesis almost proven. See Corsi’s “Black Gold Stranglehold” and “The Great Oil Conspiracy” for details.

    That’s like saying “consult the IPCC” for details. Contrary to your opinion, the theory of “fossil fuel” origin has NOT been falsified….especially by something that is ‘almost’ proven.

    Geoff Sherrington says:
    October 9, 2012 at 4:43 am
    The Russians have already drilled on land to a depth of 12.2 km, at which depth the rocks became plastic and unable to be drilled. 1970 – 1994. Search Kola super deep borehole.

    Correct. And that was in granitic continental basement. The asthenosphere is Kola on steroids. Plastic rocks squeeze in on the drilling assembly, making it impossible to continue.

    What really stands out is that this project is so poorly justified…a new coat of paint on JOIDES, DSDP, and Project Mohole.

  64. JohnH says:

    I have little doubt that once they measure the temperature of the mantle, it will be 0.5C warmer than predicted by models. Upon hearing of the discrepancy, some illustrious climate scientist will declare that the ocean’s missing heat has been found, and that the warmer magma will lead to catastrophe:

    “Global warming is causing an increase in the frequency and severity of volcano eruptions!”

    (On a side note, they’ll also “discover” that Krakatoa and Tambora were actually small, regional eruptions, and Pinatubo is now considered the largest volcanic event in recent history)

  65. Matthew W says:

    steveta_uk says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:58 am
    By God these people are insane! Don’t they remeber what happened when the Daleks tried this?
    ======================================
    What’s a “Daleks”??
    I must have missed it when they tried it.

  66. Zeke says:

    I find the use of the foraminifera fossils to create an evolutionary sequence and then to date rocks to be full of uncertainty. About 275,000 species are recognized, both living and fossil. I cringe when scientists wave their hands and claim one follows the other in evolutionary sequence, and then even to 100,000 year resolution!

    Also, the idea that so much information about conditions on the earth and in the ocean can be determined from isotopes in the fossil shells is full of assumptions. During the process of biomineralization, somehow isotopes show up in the shells that are not expected to be there. It is hardly well understood, and it is not a one-to-one relationship between the isotopes in the water and the isotopes in the shells.

    I think they will get a lot of information, and already are poised to misinterpret it for the sake of AGW paleoclimatology, or to report what they think they know already.

  67. Tony Mach says:

    @AleaJactaEst

    Thanks for the info! Using sediments as a climate proxy makes much sense than a 6 km (or 6 mile?) hole into the crust and mantle…

    On that: Are there any plans yet as the where this 6 km hole into crust and mantle is planned?

  68. Terry says:

    I think there was a movie in the 60s ‘Crack in the World’ (yes – 1964) where they drill down, can’t get through to the core so drop a small nuclear bomb to break through the crust and then all kinks of things go wrong and ends up creating a second moon. I presume life as we know it would end. Bringing science fiction to life!

    I think it would provide some great geological data but it seems there have been others that have drilled deeper already. What great pressures there must be so far down. Perhaps this group could talk to those other projects and see what problems they ran into.

  69. Tony Mach says:

    @Alexander Feht
    If it isn’t in the Bible, it didn’t happen.

  70. jrwakefield says:

    They could save themselves, and taxpayers, a lot of money by going to Newfoundland, where asthenospheric rocks are at the surface.

  71. cui bono says:

    Suppose they drill down, prick something, and the rapidly deflating Earth goes psssffftttt across space…. :-)

  72. Matthew W says: October 9, 2012 at 5:51 am
    What’s a “Daleks”??
    I must have missed it when they tried it.
    *************************
    Sigh……take this man’s geek badge away from him!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalek
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  73. Tony Mach says:

    @Francisco, October 9, 2012 at 4:45 am:

    As to the “sinking of Lake Peigneur in a drilling accident was a pretty spectacular event”:

    I don’t expect drilling on the ocean floor to hit any salt mines.

    But then again I’m sure somebody here will come up with a theory that Obama is building secret salt mines under to oceans and filling them with Dollar bills, or something.

  74. Vince Causey says:

    This can’t be right. The minimum thickness of the Earths crust is more like 30km, not 6km, so wherever they are drilling to, it won’t be into the mantle.

  75. Rich Bragonje says:

    michaeljmcfadden says:
    October 9, 2012 at 4:14 am
    That would be “Denver is Missing” by D. F. Jones. I recently looked this up, and found that like many SF books by English authors, US titles were not always the same as on the other side of the pond.

  76. beng says:

    I hope Superman can save us from the little silver-suited subterranean people that swarm out when we disturb them w/our evil drilling.

    (h/t to the original Superman series pilot episode)

  77. Peter Miller says:

    Apart from the fact it will be impossible to drill into the mantle, as the rocks will become ‘plastic’ and therefore impenetrable before you reach it, this makes more economic sense than most ‘climate science’ projects, as you might actually find out something useful.

  78. Ron House says:

    Matthew W says:

    “steveta_uk says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:58 am
    By God these people are insane! Don’t they remeber what happened when the Daleks tried this?
    ======================================
    What’s a “Daleks”??
    I must have missed it when they tried it.”

    Oh dear, a misbegotten youth spent studying climate change when you could have been really learning something important watching Doctor Who. ;-)

    (1st Doctor, 1964 or thereabouts, from memory.)

  79. http://www.damninteresting.com/the-deepest-hole/
    Interesting link about the Soviet borehole, and I remember the hype when that project began. The Soviets, unlike the West were doing the “important science”. The project’s funding ended in 1994, 3 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. That probably gives you a hint about the time frame required to try and reduce funding for dodgy science. Even complete economic collapse can’t stop the funding once it has legs.

  80. JCrew says:

    Geoff Sherrington, Oct 9, 2012 @ 4:43
    “at which depth the rocks became plastic ”

    This is currently impossible with current drilling technology. To say the least!!!

    Casings isolations on the way down are critical to prevent excessive geopressures from the surface. But with the destination being the mantle, well the pressures and plastic wellbore deformation, along with drill bit metallurgy won’t allow going into the mantle. It’s not going to happen. And billion dollars is a small number, particularly for daily drillship costs. Drilling today is extremely slow in crystalline rock like basalt. And when things start going wrong time adds up quickly. Like when the wellbore deforms/closes in and the bit and drill pipe get stuck. Keeping drilling mud weight also becomes impossible with any highly geopressured fluids jet into the wellbore. The list goes on…..

    This is a technically bizarre and nieve proposed project.

  81. philjourdan says:

    “Crack in the World”. A 60s movie. Not bad for its time with the special effects. But the premise was a little hoakey.

  82. Proud Denier says:

    I’m sure it will yield some intersting data. Of course it is one pinprick in the surface of a very large Earth. Can’t imagine what that one hole in that one location will tell us about the whole earth.

  83. Jeff Alberts says:

    Tony Mach says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:14 am

    @Alexander Feht
    If it isn’t in the Bible, it didn’t happen.

    You forgot the /sarc tag, a REALLY BIG one.

  84. Mr Lynn says:

    Anopheles says:
    October 9, 2012 at 1:31 am
    http://aisjournal.com/2011/05/19/book-review-when-the-world-screamed-by-arthur-conan-doyle/

    Doyle wasn’t just Sherlock Holmes. I hope the drillers have a plan for this contingency.

    Commenter Dave Baker cited this Professor Challenger story back in May. I hadn’t realized then that the idea of life inside the Earth was not original with the science-fiction writer Nelson Bond. But Mr. Bond put quite a wrinkle on it. Read this story, and you will never look at the ground under your feet in quite the same way:

    “And Lo! The Bird”
    http://books.google.com/books?id=xP_f2lGYTXQC&pg=PA13&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

    /Mr Lynn

  85. Doug Proctor says:

    The MOHO Project Redux.

    The comment about microbial life: as a geologist like Jeff, but perhaps he is not an oil and gas geologist, I see this as a reference to either non-biotic, i.e. mantle processes, sources of hydrocarbons.

    Earth was formed out of a methane and hydrogen dominated gas with minor components of solid matter. Initially hydrogen and methane were co-mingled with that solid debris when the Earth formed. It is ASSUMED/believed that these gases were driven out of the solid Earth through time, yet there is some evidence that methane is being constantly released by the planet. Deep sea volcanic vents are known to blow out methane directly, though they lack an apparent source of biotic matter, and land-based volcanoes are known to produce large volumes of water and CO2, at least some of which could be burnt methane (there are Indonesian and other volcanoes that are just mud, CO2 and water). It could be, however, that microbial life going down into the oceanic floor is what produces all this methane. Regardless, the conventional idea of geologically based planctonic debris producing organic carbon reservoirs suitable for hydrocarbon generation could be only a partial solution to the problem of oil and gas sources. A deep well like this might – and I really mean, “might”, give credence to the idea that vast, almost limitless amounts of hydrocarbons are available, though where commercial production was possible remains to be seen.

    The subsea generation of methane and CO2 would also crimp the numbers for man-made CO2 in the IPCC balance sheet. It would. unfortunately, worry the alarmists more, rather than reduce man’s horror, as the “tipping point” would be closer than they thought.

    As for the rest of the “science”. Not sure. That’s why this stuff is research and experiment. If we knew what we would get, we wouldn’t need to do it.

    It is hard to justify pure research. Maybe we should be happy that the guys have found some reasons they can use.

  86. DJ says:

    Reading their 2010 Annual Report, we can see these guys are busy little beavers…. Beavers with a BIG budget..
    http://www.iodp.org/annual-report

  87. Alan the Brit says:

    Daleks are a sophisticated, savage, brutal, military warlike race of mutated chickens sitting inside tin cans ordering people about, threatening to exterminate everyone, are almost invincible, & want to rule the universe & are full of their own self-importance. A bit like Al Gore et al in fact. AND ONLY THE DR can beat them!!!!!!

    Had another thought. Is this not some sneaky plan by you Colonials to drill down at a jaunty angle through the Earth to suck away the Russians oil from the other side? ;-)

  88. David Ball says:

    Has anyone checked to see if this voids the earth’s warrantee ?

  89. David Ball says:

    Tony Mach says:
    October 9, 2012 at 6:14 am

    @Alexander Feht
    “If it isn’t in the Bible, it didn’t happen.”

    My last income tax bill (which I am more than happy to pay) wasn’t in the bible. So I’m off the hook then?

  90. dahun says:

    It just proves that if say it may help support the global warming theory, there is no limit to the budget.

  91. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Agust Bjarnason says: “Iceland..

    Sarc on – Most people are unaware that Iceland’s power generating stations spew mass quantities of the deadly greenhouse gas that contributes most to the greenhouse effect. If you have any doubt, just take a look:

    http://imgur.com/gallery/uwaSy

    IPCC models indicate that feedback from this “hydro-pollution” is warming the arctic, melting Greenland’s glaciers and generally making climate “more extreme”. Unless Iceland immediately stops emitting this deadly green house gas and switches exclusively to wind and solar power, the UN is going to have to impose a stiff hydro-tax. – Sarc off.

    This IPCC climate policy stuff is easy!

  92. David Ball says:

    Alan the Brit says:
    October 9, 2012 at 8:08 am
    “Had another thought. Is this not some sneaky plan by you Colonials to drill down at a jaunty angle through the Earth to suck away the Russians oil from the other side? ;-)”

    Dang, he’s on to us !!!

  93. Todd says:

    I think the operative word here is Plan. They are seeking funding for Planning. There will be several rounds of planning, Each iteration of the plan will be peer reviewed and published, and then additional funding would be sought to refine the next iteration of the plan. With proper care, the planning could go on almost forever. A Geology Professor, could go from grad student to retirement on this.

  94. pat says:

    I suppose the original funding request was turned down. With a note saying that grants are being awarded only those who can confirm CAGW.

  95. jayhd says:

    Despite the climate bs in the release, I think this could be interesting if done right. There is potential for learning some things about the earth’s crust and what is down there. But, intentional or not, it makes a lot of sense to have thousands of feet of water between you and the borehole. All kinds of nasty things can happen. Bet the “scientists” will be monitoring everything from a nice, comfortable distance, safe from any of the potential nasties that can happen.

  96. Neil Jordan says:

    Re Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says: October 9, 2012 at 5:43 am
    You said the magic words – “Mohorovicic Discontinuity”. In grad school, we had to learn how to correctly pronounce Mohorovičić. As I recall, the c’s are pronounched “ch”. Re others bringing up the science fiction aspects of this project, remember that as we are drilling downward into the earth, the Mole People are drilling upward:

  97. Doug says:

    Heck we have these things called diatremes, which sent all sorts of bits of mantle material to the surface, where we can just go look at them.

  98. dp says:

    There is already a perfectly good hole to the mantle and it was free. But since no money changed hands it surely can’t be of any value:

    http://geology.com/usgs/loihi-seamount/

  99. Foghorn Leghorn says:

    I am one of those “pinheads” (no offense taken) who uses deep-sea cores to study past climate cycles and I have been on some ODP/IODP drilling expeditions aimed at this objective. Setting aside the question of AGW, the DSDP/ODP/IODP core materials have been central to our understanding of past climates.

    Jeff L. has picked up on a bit of *overall* IODP promo material which discusses the use of IODP cores to study past climate *and* deep subsurface microbes *and* crustal processes, etc. In fact the material Jeff L. has quoted says nothing about drilling to the mantle; the piece’s only mention of the mantle says “New ocean crust is constantly being formed as part of the plate tectonic cycle, and subsequently being pushed back in the Earth’s mantle along tectonic subduction zones overlain by the volcanic arcs thought to be the building place for the continental crust we live on and utilize for resources.” Overall a correct, if general, statement of the current understanding of plate tectonics.

    The piece Jeff L. has copied and pasted actually doesn’t even say anything about drilling to the mantle as the headline media piece does. The media piece at top does say the 21st Century Mohole project (that’s what it’s called within IODP circles) will “answer basic questions about climate change geology and life on Earth.” The project is not justified on the basis of delivering on questions about climate change as the posting’s headline media piece suggests (see links below). This media piece does not seem to come from IODP itself but seems to be a CNN or other some wire-service story. A longer version

    http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/07/geologists-plan-to-drill-6-kilometers-down-all-the-way-to-earths-mantle/

    does say “The geologists, however, attest that samples from the mantle will provide a detailed record of the Earth’s climate and environmental history.” The link to the “attest” statement
    takes us back to the IODP promo statement Jeff L. found, which does *not* claim mantle samples will provide any record of Earth’s climate or environmental history – that record is mainly to be found in sediments overlying ocean crust. So the media story appears to have gotten the story wrong and confused two different themes of IODP drilling, and made a claim no scientists appear to have made.

    Crustal dynamics (which the Mohole project is aimed at better understanding) *do* have relevance to climate. *But* it’s generally thought, only on *very* long time scales of tens-to-hundreds of millions of years through the relationship between tectonics and geochemical cycles understood to control the (again I emphasize) very *long-term* changes in the carbon cycle. e.g.

    http://www.iodp.org/new-nature-study-illuminates-55-million-years-of-the-carbon-cycle-and-climate-history

    If you read a better-written media piece on the Moho drilling project

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/01/tech/mantle-earth-drill-mission/index.html?hpt=te_r2

    or an IODP description of the initiative

    http://www.iodp.org/doc_download/1283-ispini21ctmohole

    they say *nothing* about climate, appropriately, as the Moho drilling is not about climate.

    The most likely sites for the drilling will be near fast-spreading mid-ocean ridges in the eastern Pacific, not in trenches.

  100. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Doug says:
    October 9, 2012 at 8:49 am
    Heck we have these things called diatremes, which sent all sorts of bits of mantle material to the surface, where we can just go look at them.

    Correct. Kimberlite pipes by another name. Source of Diamonds. And all kinds of other High Pressure/High Temperature oddities. Diamonds are elemental carbon. Maybe that’s where this Idea that hydrocarbons came from the mantle emerged. Well, go drill a diatreme.

  101. Setting aside the question of AGW, the DSDP/ODP/IODP core materials have been central to our understanding of past climates.

    Jeff L. has picked up on a bit of *overall* IODP promo material which discusses the use of IODP cores to study past climate *and* deep subsurface microbes *and* crustal processes, etc. In fact the material he has quoted says nothing about drilling to the mantle; the piece’s only mention of the mantle says “New ocean crust is constantly being formed as part of the plate tectonic cycle, and subsequently being pushed back in the Earth’s mantle along tectonic subduction zones overlain by the volcanic arcs thought to be the building place for the continental crust we live on and utilize for resources.” Overall a correct, if general, statement of the current understanding of plate tectonics.

    The piece Jeff L. has copied and pasted actually doesn’t even say anything about drilling to the mantle as the headline media piece does. The media piece at top does say the 21st Century Mohole project (that’s what it’s called within IODP circles) will “answer basic questions about climate change geology and life on Earth.” The project is not justified on the basis of delivering on questions about climate change as the posting’s headline media piece suggests (see links below). This media piece does not seem to come from IODP itself but seems to be a CNN or other some wire-service story. A longer version

    http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/07/geologists-plan-to-drill-6-kilometers-down-all-the-way-to-earths-mantle/

    does say “The geologists, however, attest that samples from the mantle will provide a detailed record of the Earth’s climate and environmental history.” The link to the “attest” statement
    takes us back to the IODP promo statement Jeff L. found, which does *not* claim mantle samples will provide any record of Earth’s climate or environmental history – that record is mainly to be found in sediments overlying ocean crust. So the media story appears to have gotten the story wrong and confused two different themes of IODP drilling, and made a claim no scientists appear to have made.

    Crustal dynamics (which the Mohole project is aimed at better understanding) *do* have relevance to climate. *But* it’s generally thought, only on *very* long time scales of tens-to-hundreds of millions of years through the relationship between tectonics and geochemical cycles understood to control the (again I emphasize) very *long-term* changes in the carbon cycle. e.g.

    http://www.iodp.org/new-nature-study-illuminates-55-million-years-of-the-carbon-cycle-and-climate-history

    If you read a better-written media piece on the Moho drilling project

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/01/tech/mantle-earth-drill-mission/index.html?hpt=te_r2

    or an IODP description of the initiative

    http://www.iodp.org/doc_download/1283-ispini21ctmohole

    they say *nothing* about climate, appropriately, as the Moho drilling is not about climate.

    The most likely sites for the drilling will be near fast-spreading mid-ocean ridges in the eastern Pacific, not in trenches.

  102. By the way I am one of those “pinheads” (no offense taken) who uses deep-sea cores to study past climate and I have been on ODP/IODP drilling expeditions aimed at this objective.

  103. RACookPE1978 says:

    foghorn leghorn says:
    October 9, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Thank you. As a fully-qualified pinhead with on-site experience, lettuce hope you can assure us the crew was using their head and drilling with the sharp end of the pin, and holding on to the blunt end. 8<)

  104. MarkW says:

    Are they trying to claim that the missing heat isn’t in the ocean, it’s now in the mantle?

  105. MarkW says:

    alex says:
    October 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Defending yourself is stupid?

  106. HankHenry says:

    I’d be interested in knowing temp profiles going below the sea floor. I recently read that the reason the mid-oceanic ridges are ridges is because of heat. In other words the greater heat at mid-oceanic ridges cause expansion of rock thereby raising them up into ridges.

  107. Apology for the double posting – browser crashed and I thought the post hadn’t gone through.

  108. Billy Liar says:

    Take a look at the IODP publications:

    http://www.iodp.org/scientific-publications/

    On a casual look I would say, regardless of whether there is any connection with climate, they are doing a whole lot more observational science than many of the most vocal climate scientists.

  109. Winter Hawk says:

    To overcome the plasticity of the mantel, I recommend they set casing in the crystalline basement just above it, convert the drilling mud system to air, and without a drill bit, pressure up and blow their way down similar to the procedure utilized by glass blowers. A wire line camera can follow the cavern in real time, probably infrared would work. /Sarc just to make sure.

  110. AnonyMoose says:

    It looks like whoever wrote the press release just searched the Interwebs for “ocean drilling” and copied whatever was found, without understanding it.

    Technically, the deep hole might say something about climate, but on a scale of scores or hundreds of millions of years.

  111. Power Grab says:

    Just being silly here – but what if they discover that whatever is down there is younger than what’s up here?

  112. Power Grab says:

    @gofer says:
    October 9, 2012 at 4:07 am
    “Maybe they will make a huge oil discovery. How ironic would that be?”

    Heh. Yeah. I doubt they will tell anyone if they do find that much oil.

  113. jrwakefield says:

    “This can’t be right. The minimum thickness of the Earths crust is more like 30km, not 6km, so wherever they are drilling to, it won’t be into the mantle.”

    That’s continental plates. Oceanic plates are no more than six miles.

  114. mojo says:

    It will melt when it hits Al Gore’s “millions of degrees” layer, won’t it?

  115. Mark says:

    Matt says:

    I am reading here in other news the drill will be 10Km – so maybe it is rather 6 miles than 6 Km…

    Sounds more like they plan on drilling where the sea is about 4km deep.
    Wonder how the drilling platform will be kept from moving whilst the hole is drilled in such deep water.

  116. Matt says:

    @David Ball,

    Sorry, you are out of luck. The bible might not metion your tax bill in particular, but it does mention taxes.

    See Mark 12:17

    You still have to pay your taxes.

  117. Resourceguy says:

    @Alexander Faht

    Thanks. That is a perfect comparison.

  118. george e smith says:

    Don’t they know it’s a million degrees down there, and they are going to provide a new way for it to get to the surface. Why not just run a computer simulation of it, and then you might as well go all the way to the center of the earth !!

  119. LED says:

    They’re thinking way too small. Just melt your way through.
    http://www.npl.washington.edu/av/altvw120.html

  120. Mark and two Cats says:

    Drilling down into the mantle to study the climate? Idiots! They should be drilling up!

  121. wayne says:

    Of JCrew says: October 9, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Thanks JCrew for your comment. I agree. Sound like you have some actual oil field experience. I do remember a gas well back in the late ’70’s, I believe it was in the Anadarko basin formation (?), the deepest well of that time and it hit gas, lots of gas, a mother lode so to speak at huge pressure. It was going to make some very, very wealthy. The problem *was* the absolutely huge pressure.

    One investor took his relatives out to the well one Sunday to show off the well and opened the main valve wide open for the roar experience and thankfully instead of casing failure and blowout ejection the well collapse upon itself deep below instantly plugging itself. End of story. If the opposite had occurred I remember hearing that the oil & gas industry at that time didn’t know how they would have ever been able to get it back in control and capped, all due to the pressure.

    To give that some scale, with an 18” casing at 30,000 psi a plug of solid lead 18” in diameter a mile high would not even be enough weight to counter act that much force.

    That’s very vague now and probably not exactly correct, some of the stories may have been a bit of hype about it, but when I hear of wells to such depths it brings back those times. A eighteen inch casing at 30000 psi is about 4000 static tons it takes to counteract that force. I sure hope they know what they are doing if they do hit an unexpected pocket.

  122. Jim G says:

    Wikipedia (sorry) says, “In some places under the ocean the mantle is actually exposed on the surface of the Earth.[8] There are also a few places on land where mantle rock has been pushed to the surface by tectonic activity, most notably the Tablelands region of Gros Morne National Park in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    So, why drill? Or at least, drill there.

  123. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead says:

    Mark says:
    October 9, 2012 at 11:29 am
    Matt says:

    I am reading here in other news the drill will be 10Km – so maybe it is rather 6 miles than 6 Km…

    Sounds more like they plan on drilling where the sea is about 4km deep.
    Wonder how the drilling platform will be kept from moving whilst the hole is drilled in such deep water.

    The same way it is done everywhere else.

  124. Jim G says:

    Matt says:
    October 9, 2012 at 11:42 am
    @David Ball,

    “Sorry, you are out of luck. The bible might not metion your tax bill in particular, but it does mention taxes.

    See Mark 12:17

    You still have to pay your taxes.”

    Caesar is dead.

  125. TimO says:

    Movie from my childhood: “Crack in the World” (1965).
    Scientist drill for geothermal energy and the crack un-zips the mantle along the world’s fault lines. In the end they close the gap and a portion of the Earth flies off as a new Moon somehow without killing everyone. Makes as much sense as Al Gore….

    The entire movie is up on Youtube:

  126. Mark writes

    “Wonder how the drilling platform will be kept from moving whilst the hole is drilled in such deep water.”

    The vessel (the Chikyu* that would be used for the Mohole drilling) uses a dynamic positioning system, getting position from acoustic transponders placed on the seabed and GPS. The system directs power to the propellers and lateral thrusters to set orientation relative to waves/current/wind and maintain the vessel’s position over the hole.

    http://www.jamstec.go.jp/chikyu/eng/Science/control.html

    *The JOIDES Resolution, the other main platform in IODP also has a DP system.

  127. Matt says:

    @ Jim G.

    By the time of the New Testiment “Ceaser” is more title than name.

    Mark 12:17 is the equivelent to saying “Render unto the President what is the President’s”

    There is a reason why US currency is sometimes refered to as dead Presidents.

    Go back a ways and get the full context.

  128. Greg Cavanagh says:

    Well, if they get their funding based on the Global Warming premis, good on em. At least they tried, and won. I think its an interesting exersize in its own right, and no doubt much will be learnt. (nothing to do with global warming mind you, lol).

    I reckon we should all do stupid submissions, just to see just how rediculous it can get and still be accepted.

  129. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Power Grab said on October 9, 2012 at 10:24 am:

    Just being silly here – but what if they discover that whatever is down there is younger than what’s up here?

    In a sense that is likely already true. There are postulated hotspots where the magma from volcanoes comes from mantle plumes, so this material from the mantle becomes new rock, specifically new igneous rock. So down there is the material of new rocks, while up here are the oldest rocks, so what is down there is younger than what’s up here.

    If this hotspot hypothesis were proven true, then samples from the mantle could likely be obtained following a recent outflow from a volcano, from its crater, in Hawaii. While tricky, it will not cost a billion dollars, and I will guess it would prove less risky than this attempt at making essentially a “controlled volcano tube”.

    That’s not to say we shouldn’t pursue tapping into the mantle someday. After we run through the several hundred years of stored fossil fuel energy, and the many thousands of years of obtainable fission nuclear energy, if the “limitless” fusion dream doesn’t pan out (cold or hot) then the heat in the mantle could keep humanity going for many more years. Maybe even long enough that by then civilization will have developed reliable and economical wind and solar energy.

  130. Gunga Din says:

    Christopher Hanley says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:02 am
    But it’s several million degrees down there (Al Gore Nobel Laureate says so), isn’t that going to melt the aparatus.

    ===================================================================
    Did Algore OK this? If he did, I guess Al will do anything to prove warming is manmade.

  131. Gunga Din says:

    Matt says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    @ Jim G.

    By the time of the New Testiment “Ceaser” is more title than name.

    Mark 12:17 is the equivelent to saying “Render unto the President what is the President’s”

    There is a reason why US currency is sometimes refered to as dead Presidents.

    Go back a ways and get the full context.
    ======================================================
    The rest of the verse is the real point but I think we’re giving the ModSquad itchy snipper fingers.

  132. COMPLETELY INSANE?

    No. It’s completely funded.

    Follow the money. Things will make more sense then.

  133. RoHa says:

    Here’s the full text for “When the World Screamed”.
    http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/ff3/wscream.htm

  134. James Bull says:

    My big worry here is that if they succeed the earth will fly around the solar system going PHUURRRRRR and end up as a shrivelled soggy mess in deep space.
    James Bull

  135. Steve R says:

    If they drilled right on the rift of the mid ocean ridge, wouldn’t the asthenosphere thickness be at a minimum? Certainly thinner than the trenches?

  136. wayne Job says:

    If they make a nice big hole, they can make a geothermal power station of some note and gain billions more in investment, controlling the bore hole may prove a little problematic, not to mention dangerous. I do hope their ship is at least as unsinkable as the Titanic and flame proof as the heat source they are playing with could turn water into a plasma state and the depth of water rather irrelevant. This is a very brave venture into the unknown, I do hope the pinheads are all on board and not just the drill crews when all this is happening. Good luck.

  137. RoHa, thank you for sharing “When The World Screamed.” It is not the story I was thinking of (The one clear thing I remember from that story was the idea that a vast amount of ordinarily rather innocent gas — either nitrogen or carbon dioxide — was increasingly filling the earth’s atmosphere from the subsurface chamber.) but it *is* a story that I read a very long long time ago as a kid and had forgotten all about! Professor Challenger featured in several other tales as well if my memory serves me right!

    – MJM

  138. Stanley K. says:

    Maybe they will discover Trenberth’s missing heat?

  139. Jim G says:

    Matt says:
    October 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    @ Jim G.

    “By the time of the New Testiment “Ceaser” is more title than name.

    Mark 12:17 is the equivelent to saying “Render unto the President what is the President’s”

    There is a reason why US currency is sometimes refered to as dead Presidents.

    Go back a ways and get the full context.”

    All the Caesars are dead even the Russian Zars, which title was taken from the term Caesar as was Kaiser in Germany. All dead. We have no Caesar here, though some obviously have those ambitions. I understand your point but would rather believe that Jesus was making a political statement in the first part of his quote, not a moral one, not to mention, He did not say the taxes were fair or that they should be paid but said “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” due to the picture on the coin. Taxes in those days may have, at times, been paid in goats or sheep. No picture there, though the south end of a northbound goat may resemble some of our present day politicians.

  140. Ken Harvey says:

    Of course they will find that it isn’t really hot down at the bottom of their hole. Stands to reason – no CO2 down there to keep it warm.

  141. “ ‘In some places under the ocean the mantle is actually exposed on the surface of the Earth.[8] There are also a few places on land where mantle rock has been pushed to the surface by tectonic activity, most notably the Tablelands region of Gros Morne National Park in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.’

    So, why drill? Or at least, drill there.”

    These exposed formations of what appears to be a full or nearly full sequence of ocean crust are known as “ophiolites.” Best known ones are in Newfoundland, Cyprus, and Oman, but also notable formations on Macquarie Island SE of Australia (unusual because it’s an “in place” exposure of mid-ocean ridge).

    The problem is the upper mantle has not yet been sampled “in-situ.” The current understanding is based on seismic data, ophiolites, etc. but not actual sampling of the upper mantle rocks in place. That’s why IODP is seeking to drill.

  142. Elizabeth (not the Queen) says:

    They could save some money and watch this video, starring Scrat, our favourite pliocene squirrel.

  143. ecliptic says:

    imagine their shock and moment of truth: their’s abiotic oil down there!

  144. Brian H says:

    You’re wrong, I read it, but don’t believe it.
    ;p

  145. citychild says:

    Drilling to the earth’s mantle in order to find information on climate change is completely ridiculous. This is because none of the anthropogenic or natural factors affecting the earth’s climate can be observed in the mantle. As none of the energy from either the sun or green house gases penetrate as deep enough to reach the earth’s mantle. Besides this even if the energy could be transmitted to the mantle it could not be measured because of the heat radiated out from the earth’s core. Also there would be no data to compare temperature or any findings with, so we would not be able to see any trends in the earth’s history.

    Thus the ocean would be a much better and cheaper alternative in understanding climate change. As we have records on mean ocean temperatures for a long period so comparisons can be made and trends assessed. Also we already posses the instruments to measure sea temperature and people are already trained to use them. This saves money in building new equipment and teaching people how to operate it.

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