geology, mathematics

Extremly Easy Problem

Say, that the world sea will actually rise for 6 meters in 100 years.

How many Amazon size rivers do you need on Antarctica on average during all this time?

How many liters of water per second per one meter of Antartica’s shore does this mean?



One Hour Into the Hike

In case you didn’t know, Albin Belar was also the initiator of the Triglav National Park, on the edge of which our hike took place last Sunday.  After one hour or so, we met this guy with his wife also hiking around there. This was our conversation.

Him: How is your new book?

Guy: Which one, there are a lot of them?

Him: The one about this very area.

Guy: I have discovered an old mine nearby, it’s 400 years old.

Me: An iron mine?

Guy: Of course. On the top of that mountain.

Me: Recently I heard on the radio, that there are plenty of those mines in Karavanke mountains [10 km to the north-east] but that there are only a few of them in the Julian Alps [15 km to the west]. He said that they used to collect iron ore in Bohinj, as if it was chestnuts.

Guy: Who said that? It’s not true!

Me: I don’t know who he was. He wrote a book about miners in Karavanke and Bohinj,  and I only caught that on the radio. I’m just quoting, I have no strong opinion on the matter.

Guy: Untrue. Bohinj was often conquered by different armies in the past, because of its advanced iron production.

Him: You have explored  a lot all over the Julian Alps, haven’t you?

Guy: Of course, I have also found megalithic structures high in the mountains.

Him: Where? What did you find?

Guy: Stone circles; the so called snake heads, which are particular stones to protect somebody’s house or animals; a lot of iron weapons and even some graves, which are probably Celtic.

Me: How do you know, they are Celtic? Did you run some DNA tests?

Guy: There isn’t any DNA preserved there.

Me: Must be. If they’ve discovered dinosaurian DNA, there should be a lot of Celtic DNA there also.

Guy: And I also found Roman refugia … [200 meters from where I live]

Me: What’s refugia?

Guy: Where some refugees were.

Me: I understand that, but which refugees?

Guy: Roman refugees, of course.

Me: When the Roman empire died, Romans escaped there?

Guy: Of course.

Guy: There is a story …

Me, thinking: This guy is full of shit! And I don’t see any point in archeological research without DNA analyzing tools anymore.

Guy: … the story says, every man in conquered Bohinj in the year 300 A.D. was about to be killed by these invaders. Every woman and child could freely go, taking one possession with them. So every woman took her husband and they went across the mountain to establish Cadr.

Me, thinking: Sure …

Then this guy and his wife left us, fortunately.

Me: Who was this?

Him: He is …

Me: Yea … I saw him often on TV, but he was much younger then.

Him: Fascinating guy, don’t you think so?

Me: No. A blue pill dealer.

Him: What?

Me: Never mind!



Hiking and Talking

Him: Hi, old friend and new neighbor, would you mind a walkabout these hills?

Me: It’s a Sunday afternoon, why not?

Him: Okay, let’s go to Sveta Katarina! Have you been there yet?

Me: Many times, but not on foot.

Him, 10 minutes into the hike: This is an inscription by Albin Belar!

Me: He lived somewhere near, didn’t he?

Him: Yes, we will see his house on our way back. His wife and children went to America, he stayed here.

Me: I know. He wanted to join them, but he somehow didn’t manage to.

Him: He died in 1930’s.

Me: In 1939, to be exact.

Him: You think so? This is an very interesting trail, especially when the Sun is shining, unlike today.

Me: It’s foggy November, what can you do about that. Never mind, I like it anyway.

Him: It’s warm though, winters are not as they used to be. When I was a child, we had one meter of snow every winter.

Me: You were just shorter, relative to the fallen snow.

Him: See down there, where the river is flowing. This would be a big lake of dirty water for a hydro power plant, had we not prevented its construction in the 1990’s.

Me: I was never a big fan of hydroelectric power, anyway. But if it wasn’t for you personally, there would be an electric power dam, yes, I know.

Him: Unspoiled nature is our biggest asset! Just look at those hills. They are remnants of the glacier which melted after the last ice age!

Me: It wasn’t the last ice age. There have been about 22 during last several million years, now we are going into number 23. Those hills were shaped by many different glaciers.

Him: You really think so?

Me: Of course, since our planet rotates at an ever slower pace, we have ever more severe ice ages.

Him: You really think that?

Me: I have no doubt. We could intervene and prevent the next ice age, but it’s surely coming.

Him: You don’t believe in Global Warming, I know.

Me: Sure I don’t, it’s just bullshit. The next ice age will be here in 10000 or so years. If we don’t change nature’s course, of course. But not with CO2 emission but by some ultratech.

Him: Scientists observed the warming because of CO2. No matter what you are saying.

Me: What scientists? Bunch of morrons. You should read my blog.

Two hours later.

Him: This is Albin Belar’s house!

Me: Beautiful!

Him: This rock in front of the house fell from a mountain during an earthquake 30 years ago. We brought it here as tribute to him as an seismology pioneer.

Me: Nice! See, Albin Belar 1864-1939, says the rock!

Him: Oh yes, you have  a good memory.

astrophysics, geology

Water on Earth

It is from Earth, not from comets, not from asteroids.

There’s more than one million cups of water of it on our planet. Cups as large as the comet was 65 or 66 million years ago. There wasn’t enough time for all our water to be delivered this way. Where in time are you going to put all those alleged events?

None of the latter big bombardment were nearly big enough.

Almost all of our water for the last 4.5 billion years has always been with us. Just as all the sulphur has.

Chemically recombined who knows how, but all the water is originally from here.

(I won a bet on the Extropy mailing list, what Rosetta was about to say, a few days ago. It is in a perfect accordance with what I have written above.)

geology, physics

Perm Hell

Siberian super-volcano, 250 million years ago, was a sea of molten lava, about 10 million square kilometers large.

Therefore, the amount of heat radiating from there, according to Stefan’s law, was about 5 times as much as the entire Earth’s surface normally radiates. Or gets from the Sun, which is the same number. (Roughly 4 times hotter surface radiates roughly 250 times more. Then just the 2% of the surface gives you this number – 5 times as much radiation. Very elementary.)

The majority of the heat went directly to space. But there had to be hot winds, blowing in every direction possible. Today we still have long distance winds, only much, much colder. Still they are hot enough to produce heatwaves, thousands of kilometers from their origin.

So, it’s quite imaginable, that back then it was very hot everywhere on our planet. The Siberian furnace was on, all the time, for a million years.

The hypothesis of a massive CO2 buildup which allegedly caused those high Permian temperatures – isn’t even needed.

geology, physics

Handling Yellowstone

As everybody knows, a magma chamber, 1000 cubic kilometers large, is formed under Yellowstone every good half a million years. The explosion is then imminent and it devastates the whole of North America and pretty much screws the whole Earth for years. Nuclear winter, unhealthy dust and such, all over the world.

It’s Mother Nature’s regular fireworks due every 640 000 years, and she has no intention to quit this habit, any time soon.

There is nothing we can do about it, those forces are beyond our power and control. We currently have no way to stop the next eruption, already a bit overdue. Maybe it will be a piece of cake for some future technology, but at the moment we can do nothing.

Hogwash! The magma chamber before every major eruption contains 2*10^21 J of energy. Which is a lot, but remember that it builds up during the 2*10^13 seconds since the previous one. In other words, 100 MW of power, which is equivalent to a modest power plant. 10 liters of gasoline burnt per second, give the same power.

In all that geological time a magma ball 1000 cubic kilometers in volume, accumulates.

As a matter of fact, this fire deep down is much bigger. Maybe as much as a ton or even more gasoline that would have been incinerated every second. Still less than one percent of what we are burning in our internal combustion machines. The thing is, that the vast majority, 99 percent or more heat that originated from the Earth’s interior under the Yellowstone national park is lost by cooling into the atmosphere. Geysers, rivers and cold winter winds are taking away 99 or more percent of the heat coming from the deep.

Had those factors been taking heat away a bit faster, there would be no volcano there at all. Just as there are none, almost anywhere else.

Another swamp, a square mile big, with some deep connections to the rocks bellow, would tip the balance. Yellowstone would cool down.

We are talking a small difference here. Only a bit more “natural” cooling is needed; or maybe even none at all. It’s possible that we have some additional cooling  already. For this same reason, the eruption is late.

Add some more cooling surfaces to Yellowstone and the awaited explosion is postponed indefinitely.

astrophysics, geology, photosynthesis, physics

Evaporating Earth

It is usually assumed, that a lot of space debris lands on our planet each day and enlarges it. Well, it does, but a lot more goes up into the interplanetary space, never to come back.

It does rain on our planet, but the evaporation is more significant, Earth is smaller every day! For about 4 to 5 thousand tons each day, only a small percentage comes down as meteorites.

The vast majority of the escaping mass is hydrogen, at the rate of 50 kilograms per second, due to the escape velocity many hydrogen molecules have, because of their small mass and the thermodynamics of the gases.

This unfortunately also means that almost half a ton of water is lost every second. Since the days of dinosaurs this amounts to a million cubic kilometers of water. Maybe it doesn’t sound much, but otherwise the ocean would be several meters higher. The Earth is slowly drying.

The main driver of this process is photosynthesis, which actually breaks water molecules. A fraction of the hydrogen  produced escapes, the oxygen oxidizes something else and remains here.