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Land of milk

Honey optional
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A while ago I proposed a method by which land could be reclaimed from the sea by evaporating it, and accumulating the salt. Unfortunately this process had a relatively slow deposition rate (on a human timescale). I here propose a new method which can be much faster.

It has previously been proposed that floating islands could be built with flotation provided by large numbers of plastic bottles. An eco demonstration boat has already used this technique. A few grammes of dry ice are placed into the empty bottle, then the lid screwed on tightly.

I propose an alternative technique, which I believe would be suitable for larger containers like 2 or 3 litre plastic milk bottles. Firstly the bottle is filled to the brim with seawater, then the cap is screwed on. Gluing shut may be necessary, or it may be possible to heat-seal the lids on. The bottles are serried, then mud, sand or fine aggregate packed between them to form a void-free mass. The process is then repeated for as many layers as necessary for the desired height increment.

Preparation and making good are similar to the 'salt of the land' proposal:
dyke off an area of sea,
pump out the water (or allow to evaporate),
remove the loose material for later use in the project
lay down a layer of 'soft' (non-sharp) material and a waterproof membrane

And after laying:
set down an upper waterproof membrane and scratch protector, and seal around the edges
add a thick layer of filler
finish off with soil.

This process could be easily combined with the evaporative rock-salt creating process (the modified 'Land from salt' proposal with in-situ evaporation) to greatly increase the rate at which accretion occurs - much less evaporation is required per cubic meter. If copius saturated salt solution is available (such as at the Australian sea outlet), that liquid should also be used for filling the bottles, as the density increase is beneficial.

I suppose the space between tightly packed bottles is of the order of 10% of the bottle volume. One litre is approximately equivalant to a cube, 10 cm to a side. Therefore about 300 3-litre bottles are required per cubic meter. A collection scheme would be necessary to acquire the undamaged bottles.

Loris, Jul 07 2011

Salt of the Earth Salt_20of_20the_20Earth
Previous proposal [Loris, Jul 07 2011]

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       How long before the plastic degrades and the water seeps out?
pocmloc, Jul 07 2011
  

       In general, I'm against this Balkanisation of states which usually stems from petty political difficulties or racial or ethnic tensions. Admittedly, the Czech Republic and Slovakia seem to both be doing well after the break-up of Czechoslovakia, but it makes the world a more complicated place. I guess I just didn't understand the disagreement which caused the People's Democratic Republic of Honey to break away...
hippo, Jul 07 2011
  

       I thought this was going to be a theme park.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 07 2011
  

       //How long before the plastic degrades and the water seeps out?//   

       That's a good question. (As in - I don't know the answer.)
On the one hand the plastic will be in a relatively neutral environment; it is often postulated to last in landfill for thousands of years. But on the other, even a tiny leak will cause a bottle to collapse. I suppose each one would need to be tested after sealing.
  

       //Water is good under compression, but maybe not the bottles.//   

       Actually I think the pressure may not be an issue for the bottles per-se. (Provided there are no leaks.) Because it will be uniformly distributed. Similar to how it's hard to burst an egg if you squeeze it from all directions. The bottles are also flexible enough to cope with small disturbances.
Loris, Jul 08 2011
  

       I recently had a demonstration of the mortality of 2L plastic bottles in the environment. I had drinking water stored in a bunch of them, against the possibility of zombie apocalypse (might get thirsty up on the roof for a few weeks). But rats get thirsty too and once they learned the trick, all the bottles had been emptied.   

       These water filled bottled will be under pressure from the layers above. If organisms living on them (for example burrowing worms, barnacles) or scratches from adjacent substrate rupture the bottle, the water inside will be expelled and the bottle will flatten. Thus the artificial land will gradually subside.
bungston, Jul 08 2011
  

       How did the rats get the bottles open? I suppose they chewed holes rather than unscrewing the lids - but your mention of a trick does leave open the possibility.   

       Since the uppermost layer of bottles would be some way (perhaps 10 meters or more) under the surface, I don't think large organisms like rats will be a problem. Microorganisms might be a problem if they can survive in the conditions. Super-salty water in a rock-salt matrix should see off all but the extreme halophiles, and my guess is that they wouldn't generally be a big threat in the short to medium term. Over the longer term, milk-land fields can be replaced with fully salted earth in an orderly manner, if that is deemed necessary.   

       I pre-emptively covered the pressure issue in my previous comment.
Loris, Jul 08 2011
  

       The trick: they chewed holes, bathed merrily in the gushing water released, drank to bloatedness, then scampered off to urinate on anything of worth.
bungston, Jul 08 2011
  
      
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