[extropy-chat] A sad day

Robert J. Bradbury bradbury at aeiveos.com
Tue Oct 11 10:02:18 UTC 2005

On Tue, 11 Oct 2005, Russell Wallace wrote:

> Suppose you stuffed a hundred tons of dynamite down a borehole in the middle
> of a break fault and set it off, would that trigger the earthquake early?

Quite possibly, but I'm unsure as to how you could make sure
it would be less severe than waiting for a natural "break".

I assume you are aiming for a bunch of little quakes rather than
one big one -- and I don't think that much is known about the underlying
geology to get close to that at most earthquake prone regions around the

A hundred tons may also be a significant underestimate of the force
required.  The subduction of the Juan de Fuca plate has produced four
or more volcanoes within two hours drive of my home.  The forces
involved bring to mind the MC Hammer classic "You Can't Touch This".

You *might* be able to touch it with a nanorobot designed to
operate at very high temperatures and pressures which was designed
to either liquify the rock or break in very small areas.  But I
know of no attempt to design such a nanorobot.  And the power
requirements would be formidable.  You can power them with 148Gd
internal reactors but one would need a huge number of surface reactors
or breeders to produce the required 148Gd.  With enough nanorobots
deployed over enough of an area I think you could eliminate the "break"
problem.  But I'll gracefully exit stage left and suggest this
might be a great PhD thesis project.


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