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Bomb the ocean floor

And combat global warming!
  (+9, -14)(+9, -14)
(+9, -14)
  [vote for,

Many areas of ocean are devoid of plankton because they are so clean. Far for shore, nourishing clouds of dust do not easily reach the water. If somehow the necessary minerals could be provided, these regions would bloom with carbon-sequenstering life. Some experiments have been done shipping iron ore out into the ocean and distributing it, which produced a bloom. But that stuff is heavy.

I propose instead that explosives be used to churn up the ocean floor, sending deep sediments upwards to where they can be useful. This would be done in a manner akin to crop dusting, with bombers flying over the regions of interest. The hydrodynamic bombs would jet downwards and embed themselves in the sediment, then hurl nourishment upwards to the waiting fields of plankton. The circle of life, catalyzed by bombs.

bungston, Dec 14 2008

Iron and plankton http://www.sciencem...stract/315/5812/612
[bungston, Dec 15 2008]

Ocean thermal energy conversion http://en.wikipedia...l_energy_conversion
[j paul, Jun 09 2011]


       There must be some data on the impact to sea life from underwater detonations. Would the extra plankton be worth the harm?   

       ...and anything nearby larger than a plankton would be killed by the shock wave.
hippo, Dec 14 2008

       I feel sure this would cause a mass extinction. One of the theories about what happened at the end of the Permian is that biochemical oxygen demand from stirred up sediment killed everything off, though i may be wrong.   

       I am voting for this solely on the expectation that it would kill us all. The Big Adios would be just a few hours away.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2008

       There exist ingenious deep-ocean pumps that run on wave energy. A 1-meter diameter tube made of trash-bag material extends the length of the water column, from close to the ocean floor to the surface, where a buoy is attached. The bottom of the tube has a one-way valve that lets in water. The wave crest on the surface lifts the buoy, bringing the entire column of the bag's contents with it. Then the buoy lowers with a wave trough, bringing more water in through the one-way valve at the bottom and releasing deep-water at the top of the column. This may not work at extreme depths. I think I remember one installation for about 300 meters, intended for cold-water transport to coral reefs dying of excessive heat.   

       With these, you might bring to the surface gently churned ocean bottom particles.
Ketchupybread, Dec 14 2008

       The tsunamis are a minor courtesy detail. If this were done, i´m guessing it would create anoxia in the open ocean, release hydrogen sulphide and cause the thermohaline circulation to break down, leading to a mass extinction. People would have to fight to stay alive. The fact that a few of them had died in a tsunami would simply have protected them from getting killed more slowly soon afterwards.
I don´t know though. Maybe only a fool would say that.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2008

       totally bonkers = +
xenzag, Dec 14 2008

       Love Earth
Not War
Bomb The
Sea Floor!
bungston, Dec 14 2008

       Ultimately, causing a mass extinction that carried us off too would be good for the planet. It and its biosphere would survive, and all that would be left of us would be the Caves of Altamira and the last mall.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2008

       I don't think this would either kill us all or really have much effect. The ocean is just too deep and too big. I saw a show on an idea to do the same thing without the explosives. It used wave action to power pumps to move water from the bottom to the surface. Something along those lines is a better plan.   

       Oh too long to post this anno...so what [Ketchupybread] said.
MisterQED, Dec 14 2008

       The ocean is too deep and too big to be damaged permanently in this way, but anything which stirs up sediments which have lain there for millenia without being available for aerobic organisms to consume will oxidise. Moreover, there are clathrate hydrates on the abyssal plain, which if disturbed are likely to produce large amounts of methane and worsen global warming among other nasty things. None of that is conducive to our survival. We´re talking about releasing enough of the stuff to make a difference to the biosphere. If it´s enough to do that, it´s enough to kill us.
nineteenthly, Dec 14 2008

       19thly, its always the mass extinction with you. But your clathrates point is well taken. The presence of clathrates could mean that less explosive power is necessary to accomplish this end. I should have pointed out that these bombs should not be a strict heaving charge as is used in roadwork - they need to make heat. The thermal plume will carry all of that ancient nourishment up to the awaiting plankton.
bungston, Dec 15 2008

       But methane clathrates would encourage global warming. Methane´s a really effective greenhouse gas. Little things that might matter later at the start of the end of history. I don´t think there´s much to oxidise the methane in the water, and if there was it would still mean a whole load of carbon dioxide. Or are you thinking of the expanding, man?
nineteenthly, Dec 15 2008

       *chuckle* +
madness, Dec 15 2008

       Expansion: yes. Those clathrates are intercalated in the sediments. These hot bombs will loosen all that right up.   

       One might make a case for a flaming napalm finisher to coat the ocean surface. That should ignite any methane as it bubbles through, oxidizing it to CO2, and that will be cleaned up byu the newly vital plankton.
bungston, Dec 15 2008

       There´s fire in the hole until there´s nothing left to burn, i do see that. Would these plankton not have limited nutritional value? They get loads of carbon dioxide, but what about the rest of the stuff they need?
nineteenthly, Dec 15 2008

       /the rest of the stuff they need?/   

       The idea is that oceanic plankton are limited by iron scarcity. They have the other stuff, apparently. I will link up that research. Nutritionally I expect they would be as yummy as plankton anywhere else.
bungston, Dec 15 2008

       Carbon sequestration proposals generally involve fairly modest amounts of iron. On the one hand, this makes the advantage of bombing less clear-cut. On the other hand, it means that, if there are suitable iron-rich sediments, only an insignificant proportion of ocean floor needs to be bombed.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 15 2008

       Couldn't the bomb casings be designed to disintegrate in an interesting way in order to provide for some of that iron deficiency? Especially if you use hundreds of thousands of bomblets rather than go for a couple of big bangs.
DrBob, Dec 16 2008

       Has anyone considered the fact that thousands of years ago the world was highly volcanic with high carbon dioxide levels, greenhouse gases and other nasties in the air, but now the earth is reasonably calm. This would imply that the earth is actually quite good at fixing itself and the mechanical adjustments the affect atmospheric carbon may actually be making this worse.   

       Im not saying climate change doesnt exist, or that we shouldnt reduce emissions, but I am saying that the earth is actually in balance and not a precious vessel teatering on the edge of oblivion, and any changes we make to the earth may simply be poor knee jerk reactions.
miasere, Dec 16 2008

       She saw C4 on the sea floor.   

       Now say it 10 times really fast.
theleopard, Dec 16 2008

       Hmmmmm, why not first build a long tapering conical hollow reinforced concrete shafts offshore then float them towards the nutrient-depleted ocean sites and sink them to the ocean floor with rigid legs sunk through the sand just enough to give ample clearance of the bottom rim to allow nutrient-rich water to flow in, in an event there is suction resulting to upward thrust brought about by the bubbling pressure waves whenever bombs are exploded at the center of the bottom rim slightly above the leg arrays of the column. As the bubbles rise up sequentially as the result of timed bomb explosion in required intervals, the nutrients would be jetted out towards the surface effectively and efficiently than with unaided bombs that dissipate their explosive energy waves radially. Btw, the fishing industry should pay off the expense of setting such routine operation.   

       Well, would you in time halt the bomb chain conveyor whenever toxic blooms and red tides appear? I hope such scenario won't escalate to outrageous proportions for a long time, threatening the aquatic life it supports in the first place, endangering the environment in the name of carbon sequestration to ease global warming...
rotary, Dec 16 2008

       //The ocean is too deep and too big to be damaged permanently in this way//   

       You aren't using big enough explosives.
wagster, Dec 16 2008

       One would not need to carpet bomb the ocean floor, as UB's anno suggests. The towed cyliner would be good for spot treatments, but is big and fussy and would require someone with a ship. Bombs are simpler.   

       I think that a big bomb with an adequate thermal component should form a plume that enriches several square kilometers or more of overlying ocean surface. The plume will spread as it rises.   

       A natural field test of this principle should be seen with these famous black smokers - the junk they spew should be fairly iron rich. Do black smokers fortify the ocean surface with iron?
bungston, Dec 16 2008

       There could be a tipping point leading to an avalanche effect. Having said that, i can´t be bothered to think it right through to what exact process might be involved.
nineteenthly, Dec 16 2008

       Years ago the Japanese were planning to submerge a concrete reef to cause up-welling water off the coast of Japan to improve the fishery. I haven't heard how it went but it was a similar idea to the bomb in attempting to get nutrient from the ocean floor to the surface.
Sendra, Apr 27 2009

       One word-- Eutrophication.
danman, Apr 28 2009

       //Eutrophication// Yes, if this works, it will cause eutrophication, by definition. What's your point? If you are implying that eutrophication's bad, m'kay, that's no more true than saying that rainfall is bad. It's all about context.
spidermother, Feb 19 2011

       I'm all in favor of bombing. The ocean floor has had its way for too long. It's been the graveyard of thousands of ships, from ancient Greece to our most modern warships. The United States will no longer accept these provocations. Bomb the watery lair of Poseidon and his slimy allies. Let them tremble before our might and anger!
ldischler, Feb 19 2011

       I like Ketchupybreads idea, but would use an Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) system and get drinking water and power out as well
j paul, Jun 09 2011

       I don't see how [Ketchupybread]'s idea works. Why does water want to go in when the pipe goes down? And how much bouyancy would you need to overcome the inertia of a column of water that large in the timeframe of a wave? Also, the column of water would have sediment in, so would be heavier than the surrounding water.   

       You could just use an old-fashioned hand pump with the arm pulled by the buoy, but think how little that would do.
marklar, Jun 09 2011


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