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Science: Terraforming
Nuke Cumbre Vieja   (+11, -5)  [vote for, against]
Controlled evacuations then blow the island

We know that the western flank of Cumbre Vieja will slide into the sea some time - could be tomorrow, could be hundreds of years away. But geologically speaking it's any second now.

So let's get it over and done with.

A controlled evacuation of tsunami vulnerable areas over weeks or months is infinitely preferable to the chaos and loss of life that would result from an unplanned event. A few year's notice should be given to allow communities and businesses to plan for the property destruction, and the rebuilding to follow.

Then we nuke the fault line and sit back and enjoy the show.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Oct 25 2005

Cumbre Vieja
Wikipedia entry [BunsenHoneydew, Oct 25 2005]

(?) Images
Predicted wave patterns [BunsenHoneydew, Oct 25 2005]

(?) Satellite image http://www.hypograp...lder/las_palmas.jpg
That curved line around the lower left side is the fissure [BunsenHoneydew, Oct 29 2005]

If we are going to start pre-emptively triggering fault lines, what are the residents of Los Angeles going to say?

However, we do this with avalanches (though maybe not with nuclear weapons), so it sounds like a plan to me.
-- DrCurry, Oct 25 2005

Yeah, I was hoping for Public: Safety or Public: Disaster Prevention, but I guess here will do
-- BunsenHoneydew, Oct 25 2005

I once read a book that explained that if you plot severity of event vs time between events, you get a curve that follows a power law. i.e. The longer you wait between entropising events, the more vigorous they'll be when they do eventually come around. I think there's a HB idea somewhere that suggests 'shaking up' governments in this way.

Though I don't recommend doing this immediately (Bermuda would be washed clean in the Tsunami - I'll be back in the UK for Christmas though) I do think it might be worthwhile triggering smallish tremors every month or so along big fault-lines, in order to smooth their movements.

In the specific example of Cubre Vieja, mightn't there be a way to erode the offending lump piece by piece, thus saving all the horrific loss of life and property?
-- zen_tom, Oct 25 2005

It looks like florida would get whacked hard by the tsunami, nuke-induced or otherwise.
-- bungston, Oct 25 2005

Would nukes be powerful enough to snap off that chunk of extruding land?
-- wagster, Oct 25 2005

Sure, if we bury a few of them deep in the fissure.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Oct 29 2005

[erode the offending lump piece by piece] we're talking 500 cubic kilometers here - that's 120 cubic miles. As in 120 solid chunks of rock, a mile by a mile by a mile -each- in size. Not trivial, but mmm, yes, could be a comparable task to the Atlantic-wide evacuation and wholescale rebuilding of cities.

And we'd have to excavate it with an extremely light touch - no excessively large blasting charges here methinks.

So a whole lot more boring. /edit/ sorry, completely unintended pun I only just noticed.

Can't we just nuke it? Huh? Pretty please?
-- BunsenHoneydew, Oct 29 2005

<Agitated Beaker> Mee Meee! Mee Meeee! MeeMeeMeeMeeMeeeeeee!!! </ab>
-- wagster, Oct 29 2005

Before the nuke was detonated, you could remove the ocean for about 1/2 mile back, so the majority of the mountain fell onto bare ocean floor.
-- bungston, Oct 30 2005

A documentary on this a while back showed La Palma’s separation would be due to the extreme heating of water trapped within. My thought at the time was to drill it full of holes so the pressure couldn’t get high enough, of course doing battle with subterranean lava heated water is likely futile.

Living on the eastern seaboard of the US, I will be wiped out, so how’s my insurance? I am insured for all so called ‘acts of god’ including a tsunami, but your proposal is for a ‘man made’ disaster. Hmmm.
-- Shz, Oct 30 2005

The first thing I thought when I saw that documentary was that terrorists can now attack a country without having to enter the country being attacked.
-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 30 2005

How about you get those large earth movers to do the work.
-- Antegrity, Oct 31 2005

I like the idea of removing the water beforehand - build a giant cassion around the mountain perhaps. And [Shz] maybe it's the insurance industry that would be most interested in funding this venture, seeing what they stand to lose otherwise.

[Pa've] My reading is that the fissure is not a tectonic fault-line, but a slippage fissure of a giant, slow-moving landslide. I'm not proposing that mankind's puny weapons could trigger an earthquake.

Although maybe what we need to do is drill [Shz]'s holes and pump water -into- it....
-- BunsenHoneydew, Nov 03 2005

trust me... you wouldnt need nukes...

also it would be better to simply drill down into the magma underneath, thus letting it higher to heat the water in the rock face making it collapse...

or you could blow it up, piece by piece making smaller usefull tsunamis...

all funded by the surfers waiting for the massive waves....
-- seraphim, Nov 09 2005

I was thinking about this idea - worrying about it. If one had a bomb and terror in mind, this approach would provide a lot of leverage. In fact this could probably be done with 19th century technology but no-one thought of it.
-- bungston, Mar 16 2007

Until Now! Mwahahaha!
<distant sound of tepid air rushing through a slightly-rusting nozzle>
-- methinksnot, Mar 16 2007

Unless the US government pays me ...ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!!
-- wbeaty, Sep 11 2009

A nice example of possible t'error'-forming.
-- wjt, Sep 11 2009

I suspect we are overestimating the power of our nuclear weapons. Perhaps we could try this with Mentos and cola.
-- normzone, Sep 11 2009

I think this could be a fine premise for an action movie. The hero could steal the atomic bombs, but then the villian manages to loose Cumbre Vieja by steering rockets down onto it. The hero flies ahead of the tsunami on a supersonic jet and deploys the stolen nukes sequentially at a scientifically chosen point on the Atlantic coastline, producing a series of east-travelling counterwaves that neutralize the big wave in the midAtlantic. The world is safe, if a little glowier!
-- bungston, Sep 11 2009

Except that waves don't neutralise each other - they pass straight through and continue on their merry way.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Sep 27 2009

Instead of this, build a bunch of geothermal power stations to cool and stabilize the rock around the faultline. Bad science? Probably.
-- sninctown, Sep 27 2009

I was thinking about this action movie again. Supersonic jets, Vin Diesel, blah. This should be set at the time of the American Reconstruction (post Civil War), with the obvious twist 3/4 through that it is not evil foreign powers but actually bitter Union members who are not satisfied with victory and want to wipe the South from the map.
-- bungston, Dec 16 2009

More steampunk musings - maybe Cavorite (the antigravity material from the HG Wells story, also playing a role in the comic form of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) could be deployed along the ocean bottom, freeing the overlying water from Earths pull and sending it upwards in a swirling fountain. With the water out of the way, the mountain falls harmlessly to the ocean floor.

Rather than drop the water back on top, it can be flown a few miles east and dropped off in south Libya, forming a wondrous new inland sea.

For those unfamiliar with "The First Men in the Moon" I recommend reading at least the beginning, with a vivid depiction of the effect of turning off Earths gravity in an area measuring a square yard or so.
-- bungston, Jan 14 2014

Well, extending on [bungston]'s anno a little... What if instead of trying to do wave-cancellation, you instead deploy a line of large nuclear devices a bit closer, to interfere with the wave formation itself? Maybe you could aerate the water in front of the falling rock enough to make it compressible enough to prevent the wave from forming at all? It might work out that you need several orders of magnitude more nuclear blast, than you're saving by interfering with the wave. But it's an idea...
-- Custardguts, Jan 14 2014

I'd just like to say that I have nothing to add at this point.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 14 2014

I am glad I did not get anyone to count on the wave cancellation technique. I am now thinking the waves will go right through each other. Can anyone weigh in on this? Can one stop a wave by throwing another wave at it?
-- bungston, Aug 10 2016

No, just wave as it goes by.
-- normzone, Aug 10 2016

There is, of course, a better solution.

First, we build a very strong wall standing on the seabed around Cumbre Vieje. Then we pump out the water (from the Cumbre Vieje side, obviously). _Then_ we nuke it.

After the resulting massive landslide, we open a few valves in the wall and let the sea back in.
-- MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 10 2016

Wouldn't it be easier to build the wall if we pump the ocean out first?
-- BunsenHoneydew, Aug 11 2016

If you let the nuke off first, it will push the water out of the way for you, and incidentally provide a large quantity of building material just where you want it.
-- 8th of 7, Aug 11 2016

Brilliant. Drilling commences at dawn.
-- BunsenHoneydew, Aug 13 2016

random, halfbakery