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How could a large (continent-size) land mass be created in the Pacific through human intervention? My current idea for how it could be achieved would be the drilling of large holes through the crust. to force up large amounts of magma to solidify above creating a large land mass. This landmass would be continent-sized at around the size of Brazil: enter image description here

(if there would be a better location to do this please tell me)

This would obviously be a massive effort so how would nations justify the creation of a large landmass to voters and what level of technology would be required to achieve this. In my world corporations outside of two nations are pushed around regularly by governments and have little to no influence over what happens. so they aren't an issue. Governments are funded by the money printer and regulate inflation with taxes. So money isn't much of an issue more than the resources available to a nation as a whole.

The tech level - near future with some more advanced tech sprinkled in.

Timeframe - unknown

Objective - create landmass 8.516 million km²

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    $\begingroup$ Horrible idea, in part how to implement. Floating stuff the way to go - it more expensive, but also more flexible, and there is a way to not kill every life in pacific. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 9:09
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    $\begingroup$ Where will the water go which get displaced by a Brazil sized continent, a few kilometers deep? You may lose more existing land due flooding than you gain by building a new continent. $\endgroup$
    – Abigail
    Jun 24 at 9:33
  • $\begingroup$ Okey, few things are missing here, but one is detrimental - what is the technology level. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ So are you trying to cause a global mass extinction? $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 24 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ using any form of volcanic will result in a very large mass extinction, likely followed by the collapse of human civilization. your best bet is to just handwave its existence. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 24 at 13:59

11 Answers 11

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Building on Nepene Nep's asteroid idea: space matter is definitely the way to go. Send several ships to space, attach them to a big asteroid, and bring it back down to earth. Here are some considerations to make it more practical:

  1. Don't bring it all down at once, or it'll cause an explosion bigger than you can handle. Get a big asteroid into orbit and break off manageable chunks every time it passes by your target land-area.

  2. Here's a depth map of the ocean floor. Adjust your continent's shape and size to stay in the shallows; this way you'll need less material to fill the deep, and you'll displace less water.

  3. You're going to displace a lot of water, so the sea level will rise immensely. If you don't do something with that water, you're going to lose as much land as you gain. You've got a couple of options:

  • Pump the water underground. This is already being done in places like Los Angeles -- the city is built on a big pool of oil, and they had a big sinkhole problem when they were extracting it before, so they pump the oil out and pump the water underground to fill the gap. If you go with this option, do a little bit of extra research to find out what the impact will be. Are you going to simply try to raise the land in some area? Maybe raise the water table instead? Let it slowly come up in springs and dig huge rivers all over the place so that riverboat-travel becomes as normative as car-travel? Maybe terraform a desert and convert it into farmland?

  • Freeze the water and put it somewhere else. Freezing this much water without something like Kurt Vonnegut's Ice 9 is going to take a lot of energy, but nuclear power plants also waste a lot of energy. If everybody went nuclear and then devoted the waste to freezing water, you might just make some headway on this. You can employ some industry tricks to increase its melting temperature. Then you can put it onto the ice caps, or put it into orbit. This was one of Isaac Aasimov's suggestions in his book "The Caves of Steel". He had several other ideas that I don't remember, and I don't have a copy of the book, but I recommend it.

  • Put the water to work. Start massive desalination projects; extract every substance from the water. Use those substances for other things (salt, brine, etc), and then use the purified water for cooling in factories, and whatever else you might want it for. This means you'll have huge water-tanks everywhere.

  • Use more asteroid matter to build huge dams around all the other continents, so the water can't get in. This will involve bringing down a lot more asteroid pieces, and a lot nearer to civilization, meaning you'll have to concern yourself a lot more with the safety of your existing land. And, you'll pretty much destroy everything on the coasts.

  • (Some combination of the above is probably a fine bet.)

  1. When you fill in that part of the ocean, the weather will change. You'll be changing one of the primary motivators for hurricanes as we know them. (I'm no meteorologist, so someone might correct me on this): When warm water flows down from the tropics, it warms up the air in cooler regions; that air rises and swirls around with the higher cold air in those regions, making our hurricanes. With your big continent in the way, you'll change all the tides, so that tropical water will be flowing somewhere else, and maybe faster since it's going through a more narrow channel now. You might get superstorms and mega-hurricanes on a pretty regular basis. Or, who knows? In the long term, it might actually calm the weather as we know it by keeping the hot and cold waters separate (in which case, we can be sure that a lot of fish will die). But one thing is for sure: for the duration of the project, while you're in the middle of displacing huge sections of the oceans, you'll be creating large waves, and you'll see large storms. Better weatherproof everything as you go.

Well, that was fun to think about. I wanted to give you a "maybe this is plausible" answer instead of a "no; I can't think of a way to do it, therefore it's impossible" answer, because saying "it's impossible" doesn't actually address "how do I do it in an imaginary setting with a bit of hypothetical future tech?". Future tech means we don't know how to do it yet, and so we think it's impossible for now; be sure to use that future tech to mitigate some of the harm you're about to do to the whole world.

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    $\begingroup$ "Manageable chunks" is problematic. Handwave away all the difficulties with getting the chunks down without making big craters, or waste energy/propellant from the spaceship drives ruining the atmosphere. You've got a perfectly efficient antigravity drive that allows you to lower the chunks as lightly as a feather. They don't even make a splash. So you pile the chunks on the ocean floor, and what happens? The basaltic seafloor crust is not infinitely strong, so the pile starts to sink into it, causing massive earthquakes & vulcanism. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jun 25 at 16:21
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Your plan is rather ambitious. With our current technology we struggle to make a dent in the crust: the Kola super deep hole barely reached 12 km.

The Kola Superdeep Borehole (Russian: Кольская сверхглубокая скважина, romanized: Kol'skaya sverkhglubokaya skvazhina) is the result of a scientific drilling project of the Soviet Union in the Pechengsky District, near the Russian border with Norway, on the Kola Peninsula. The project attempted to drill as deep as possible into the Earth's crust.

Drilling began on 24 May 1970 using the Uralmash-4E, and later the Uralmash-15000 series drilling rig, and it became the deepest man-made hole in history in 1979. The 23-centimetre (9 in) diameter boreholes were drilled by branching from a central hole. The deepest, SG-3, reached 12,262 metres (40,230 ft; 7.619 mi) in 1989, the deepest artificial point on Earth.

In terms of true vertical depth, it is the deepest borehole in the world. [...] The hole reached 12,262 m (40,230 ft) in 1989. In that year, the hole depth was expected to reach 13,500 m (44,300 ft) by the end of 1990 and 15,000 m (49,000 ft) by 1993. Because of higher-than-expected temperatures at this depth and location, 180 °C (356 °F) instead of the expected 100 °C (212 °F), drilling deeper was deemed unfeasible. The unexpected decrease in density, the greater porosity, and the unexpectedly high temperatures caused the rock to behave somewhat like a plastic, making drilling nearly impossible.

And the Kola hole has nowhere a cross-section wide enough to allow a meaningful flow of magma: you would need thousands of them, with a technology to keep them open, in order to displace the 5 km of water in a time compatible with human life time. And don't forget that under that weight the crust would sink, like it is shown by all the atolls in the Pacific ocean.

If you want to create new land, your safest bet is to landfill shallow waters, like (part of) the bay of Bengala, Gulf of Messico or the North Sea.

Those areas, being closer to inhabited regions, would also make more sense from an economic point of view, justifying the massive investment. Land has not the same value everywhere.

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    $\begingroup$ Just stick a few Tsar Bomba's down that hole.. And join it with several thousand other, similarly augmented holes. Messy, yes. Expensive, very. Dangerous, good grief yes. But it should work. Just make a 500-km wide caldera, then sit back for a few decades. Ok, maybe a few millenia. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Jun 24 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ @PcMan - that's not how 40km holes work. The Tsar Bomba's fireball radius was 8km, but under normal atmospheric pressures, not Challenger Deep pressures. By the time you got a second bomb down to the bottom of the first crater, the walls of the first would have started to cave in. Blasting out a 500km caldera would be tricky without anywhere to put the overspill. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Jun 24 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ Obligatory XKCD. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Jun 24 at 18:56
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    $\begingroup$ @jdunlop remedial world destruction 101: you put a series of tsar bombas in the bore, and detonate them together. The idea is to pulverize a vertical channel about 2-2.5km wide, as deep as the borehole goes, and lift a trivial amount(about 1km or so) of the top dressing. The relieved pressure plus weakened material strength allows the mantle underneath to rebound up, then start outgassing,which causes faster rebound, repeat, repeat. With enough adjacent boreholes like this, you turn the whole region into a magma field. This was covered in EVil GEnius school, at least that's where i learned. $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Jun 25 at 6:05
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Impossible

The other answers have been gentler, I'm just going to state outright that with anything described as "near future" technology, this is impossible. To paraphrase the White Queen, to achieve this you would need to accomplish six impossible things before breakfast.

You would need to drill through the crust, requiring materials science that doesn't remotely exist and a near-unbelievable engineering challenge - and then hold the hole open against the tendency of holes in the crust to self-seal, which means you'd need something proof against magma lining the hole, which in turn would require maintenance work in liquid rock.

You would need to do all this at the bottom of the Pacific, where you have to deal with pitch-blackness, freezing cold, and, importantly, pressure far beyond the crush depth of anything but the most specialized, unmaneuverable, bathyscaphes.

Having accomplished this, you would either need to take thousands of years to do this, or displace gigatonnes of water in a fashion that commonly bears a Japanese name. Disrupting the movement of this water before it reaches low-lying areas would be an engineering challenge equal to or greater than the initial drilling endeavour.

Even if you somehow avoided the tsunamis, you would need to build dykes on every coast on the planet to prevent sea level rise from destroying hundreds of coastal cities.

Add to all of this that printing money does not create value, and you would need to expend a lot of actual work to achieve your goal. This would have a price tag that would dwarf the arms race or the space race, and would bankrupt any country that has ever existed before a square metre of dry land were synthesized.

There is no possible reason that could justify the expenditure (save if this somehow abated an existential threat to the planet) in lives and treasure in the eyes of a populace, so I would also deem it to be politically impossible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Impossibur is the only wrong word here $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ I don't use the word "impossibur" anywhere. And (despite your protestations to the contrary), the OP specified "The tech level is near future with some more advanced tech sprinkled in.", which is vague but enough for me to be confident in the "impossible" statement. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Jun 24 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Actually there are few more problems with answer, a root one probably is that u didn't considered what it means to have the continent and associated changes from the physics perspective. Would u have done that, you would know that tsunami is not a problem. Hard to tell which other changes to you perception of the problem it could have been done. Near future is vague, I would include nanotech, but I think it can be possible in good old 70's way with bunch of nukes to break the crust, bit by bit, not the whole thing. Transportation is an option - reasons why it is impossibur instead impossible. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg - your comments are uniformly unhelpful walls of incoherent text, so saying that I "didn't considered[sic]" something is rather rich. A human-induced underwater supervolcano would absolutely induce tsunamis, as illustrated by normal tusnamis induced by major undersea volcanic and geological events. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Jun 24 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ @MolbOrg: Solids and liquids are basically incompressible, so you can't thrust 30 million km^3 of magma UP without the crust going DOWN an equal amount somewhere else. Consider that there are fairly practical real-world examples, such as Hawai'i and Iceland. The Big Island is about 300K years old and is a mere 4K square miles (10K km^2). Iceland is about 20 million years old, and its volcanic eruptions can still cause significant problems for the rest of the world. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jun 26 at 17:45
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As most answers have noted, making a true geological continent would require titanic amounts of material and energy, and would certainly have major environmental repercussions (if that matters for story purposes). Landing an asteroid is probably the only way to do it by brute force. Even if you could trigger the eruption of a continent-sized volcano, that would be more of an apocalypse than a real-estate deal.

I think a floating island is much closer to being plausible; it takes a lot less material, the volume of water displaced is not too problematic, and it is "bootstrappable" – you start getting new land as you build it, rather than having to do centuries of work before you see any benefit.

I imagine that it would be grown rather than constructed, and rather than vague "nanotechnology" I would suggest using something like transgenic kelp.

Let's say you start with a pancake-sized mat of seaweed, and the cells of this seaweed are engineered to secrete some organic resin that sets hard under the right conditions (e.g. when it dries out, or is below a certain pH, or via the action of an enzyme). There are already things like that in nature – the genetic engineering is pretty believable even with existing technology.

So the cells are surrounded by this liquid resin, and when they reach a certain age they start rapidly releasing CO2 or some other gas, along with reagents that cause the resin to set. As a result, the kelp is continually forming a rigid, buoyant plastic foam, which is coated in younger, living cells.

The kelp will only grow where it is near the surface (for light), but not above sea level (because it needs water). So over time, the original pancake will expand upwards and outwards, while riding lower and lower in the water as its mass increases. If it's managed just right, you will get a sort of inverted iceberg shape that just gets wider and wider indefinitely, and all the mass comes from sequestered CO2 (which is a pretty considerable bonus).

It would take a long time, but the expanding foam aspect means it could grow much faster than normal vegetation. If the island can gain 10m a year, it'd be 2km across after a century, and you could grow probably grow multiple islands and merge them over time.

There are a lot of interesting details to consider about how you would cultivate the island as it grows. Perhaps you could grow useful tunnels and structures right into the "bedrock", for instance. It would be more like gardening than construction, and it is interesting to think how the society on such an island might relate to the process over generations.

One potential problem is how you would keep it in one place. Obviously it would have a lot of inertia, and you'd build it in the doldrums so it's not being constantly driven by wind and currents; but even if it's moving 10m a year, that will be a problem sooner or later, and it's hard to put motors on something the size of Brazil. Ideally you don't want it to rotate either, as that would cause problems for agriculture and urban planning (though less so in the tropics).

You would also need to ensure chunks of it can't escape and fill the world's oceans with billions of small plastic islands.

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Building such a structure is probably not feasible with today’s technology and is certainly not practical. The best that could be hoped for would be some giant floating structure involving a massive effort by humanity as a whole or at least the richest governments in some form of multilateral agreement. And even then it is doubtful if such a large structure could be achieved, although a large island could probably be constructed but at very great cost. A circular construction would also be better to maximize land area.

I would suggest using concrete caissons, barges and barriers based on technology from oil platforms and other experience with very large floating structures: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236168675_Very_Large_Floating_Structures

If the structure was large enough and massive enough it should be possible to overcome many of the issues experienced with oil platforms. A giant monolithic structure could be many orders of magnitude greater than the wavelength of any imaginable wave. If a circular barrier were to be built to create a large lagoon of still water the interior of the lagoon could be covered in with much less massive pontoons and concrete bridging spans (“much less massive” here does not mean small). Above this a flat surface for the island could be built using reinforced concrete and steel.

A series of these islands could then be linked to make even larger islands but the time, resource and cost involved would be astronomical.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good link about VLFS $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 15:51
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The size of your continent is about 32 million square kilometers. The depth is about 4 kilometers, the length is about 4000 kilometers, and the width about 2000 kilometers. So, you need 32 million cubic kilometers of material.

The earth's core is hard to reach. Asteroids are easy. Ram an asteroid into earth.

It's easy to justify it. Some mega rich government could decide it was the best way to increase land space or improve their vote share or such.

Then, rather than digging into the impossible to dig core of the earth, just send a ship to fly an asteroid to earth. There are lots of them. Send fragments down to fill up the sea and make the continent. You can leave the best chunks at the surface for mining. It's in the middle of the ocean to minimize waves and damage.

It would be very expensive to fly down all those chunks of asteroid, but technically feasible. Then you can have your new continent, filled with great riches. You want to make a continent, and it's costly.

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  • $\begingroup$ Brazil area is 8.516 million km² , then probably you talk about volume in the first sentance, yep volume. Do not repeat nasa mistake mixing cubic km with cubic miles. Start was good, but then you descided there is not enough insanity already and raise it by a notch, making it few times harder? Do energy calc really I was thinking u going with that, ... $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ 32 million cubic miles worth of asteroid won't "minimize waves and damage". Or rather, putting it in the middle of the ocean will minimize the waves and damage, but not enough to make this not a world-ending catastrophe. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Jun 24 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ They didn't ask for hard science, but I did mention the need for flying down all the asteroid chunks. With enough rockets you could do it. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Jun 24 at 19:55
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Of course it is possible.

Just look at my current project, in the Pacific at about 19°N by 155°W (You might know it as Hawaii)

Why, it's barely started, a mere 85 million years and already its created the tallest mountain on the world! (as measured from the base to the peak its 10230m, much more impressive than that poser Everest, which is a mere 3500m above its base!)

What? Not happy with the almost-instantaneous timescale of 85 million years?
We are talking geological timescales here folks! Anything under half a billion years is instantaneous!

Next you are going to complain I'm not using "current technology" for this? BAh humbug!

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It's not happening!

As L.Dutch states in an answer,we have barely been able drill 12 km into the crust of the Earth. Admittedly the Kolar Superdeeps Hole was drilled into continental crust which is about 30 km thick.

Oceanic crust is about 5 km to 10 km deep, but you have to get to it first and the average depth of the Pacific Ocean in 4280 m. This means if the hole is drilled from the surface of the ocean, the drill steel will be unsupported for 4280 m, which is a long way.

Steel has a density of about 8 g/cm3. Assuming a drill steel diameter of 15 cm, the mass of the drill steel will be:

(4280 x π(0.15)3 /4) x 8 x 1000 = 90,760 kg = 90.76 tonnes

You need a drill rig that will be able to rotate 91 t of steel at high speed and be able to drill rock and drill a hole somewhere between 5 km and 10 km in length. To drill a 10 km hole, the mass of the drill steel would be 385.5 tonnes.

The drilling rig will also have to flush the rock chips from the hole. Additionally there will be problems with both the drill bit and the drill steel as the hole gets closer to the crust-mantle interface and the increasing rock temperature there.

If you wanted to place the drill rig on the bed of the ocean, the water pressure the rig would have to endure would be 430 atmospheres.

You are also assuming that by breaking the crust magma will flow through the opening. This may not be the case. Some of the mantle may flow through, it may not be molten. The mantle is solid. If the holes happen to hit a hot plume then you will get magma. However, as the magma oozes from the hole, it will immediately start to solidify. It will need a huge amount of pressure behind it to do what you want it to do.

If by chance, all of this was no obstacle, the amount of material needed to form a Brazil sized land mass, just to the top of the water level would be,

8,456,215 km2 x 4280 km = 36,192,600 km3, that's over 36 million cubic kilometers, assuming vertical sides for the land mass from the bottom of the ocean to the top. In reality, the sides will be sloping, which means even more rock material (lava). That's not happening!

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On creating a continent

First off, creating a continent in the middle of nowhere isn't very effective. There's only boats and some planes as infrastructure available and it's far from anything. Normally you want to expand existing land into the sea. You'll have more infrastructure you can immediately connect to, as well as the closeness and immediate access. In addition, it's not very deep, making it much, much more likely you'll be able to create dry land. In the pacific ocean you need excessive amounts of soil, be mindful of how the water flows in many water layers as it's a huge destructive force, weather storms and much more. It's a very difficult place to form land.

That being said, the reason to create land is simple. Land is a premium. Having more just opens up more and more possibilities. In addition, such big projects might be the start of large terraforming projects. Being able to shape worlds is a good thing in the long run. The research and combined efforts can propel technology to new heights out of necessity.

Direct problems with the location

There's a big problem with where you want to build. As said before, you want to build in shallow water, as it's far easier. However, where you want to create the continent you're easily five to more than seven kilometres deep. To put that into perspective, here's a list of mountains and their heights. The hight is only their peaks. If you want to extend that from the base to the top to be a solid cube, you'll have to expend at least another mountain of mass, but easily more. You want a continent. You need to move thousands, if not millions of mountains worth to a location in the ocean to dump it.

Dumping all that in the ocean also covers up very valuable soil on the sea floor. Compared to the full ocean it's not too much, but it is one of the most valuable commodities of your new land.

Possibilities to build a continent in the ocean

The "easiest" way to do this, is to make nature do it for you.

If we can raise the ground by tectonic means, we can create massive landmasses without a sweat. Unfortunately there is no fault line near where you want to build it and the tectonics are so large and moving so slowly, it's currently impossible to influence them.

We can try with sediment deposits. It is possible for soil to start gathering at one place. But again, we need several thousands of mountains worth, not to mention it's not a solid base we build upon.

We can try to literally dump all our normal waste and things like stones the result of mining we don't directly need into this area. Yet if we do this, we need more than all our mining operations and our waste is likely not enough. Part of our waste is also important to recycle either by factories or because it's biological waste. Even if we dump all of it, we might not produce enough waste. Which is quite impressive in this day and age. We can make it a bit more easy by using polder methods to dry the land, but this only works a few meters deep. Deeper will get much more trouble with water management, as it'll seep through dykes as ground water and then flood the land anyway if you go too deep, if not break the dykes. So it'll save too little at a lot of risk.

There doesn't seem to be any way you can even contemplate of constructing this. Even if you do have the materials and ways to get it there, there are many other problems that haven't been overcome. The water flow in many different layers can be incredibly destructive both during construction and after. Storms can destroy whole fleets if they're not careful, but they might need to stay in the area to keep nature in line and not destroying what they're trying to build. After dumping the big amounts of stuff there it'll still be unstable ground, moving with the pressures of both water and added tonnage from above. The only advantage you have is that there's no fault line that can screw your project up.

It's comparable to building a tower to the stratosphere. Sure we can start, but how will we be able to build it high enough? Currently it seems impossible, however you slice it.

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  • $\begingroup$ If the continent was built next to a fault line how difficult would it be to create a landmass of this size? (I'm not committed to it being anything other than it being an independent land mass around the size of brazil.) $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Jun 24 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ "Dumping all that in the ocean also covers up very valuable soil on the sea floor": There is no soil on the sea floor... $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 24 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP please don't just throw out incorrect information without the slightest check if what your saying is true. Soil is all over the ocean floor as debris from life and the world floats down. This isn't minecraft where we have a bedrock floor. This soil is very important for life in the ocean. $\endgroup$
    – Trioxidane
    Jun 24 at 12:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane AlexP is right there is no soil on sea floor, soil has a specific definition, however you are right that the sediment there is important for sea life. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 24 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Trioxidane I never said oxygen, I said air. and not to create soil to be defined as soil. soil is defined in one of two ways, compositionally (a mixture of minerals, organic material, water and air) or ecologically, The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants, in both cases in requires air and is only present on the land. nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/soils/edu/… $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 24 at 19:15
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Do math. That size new continent will move lots of water. Depends of depth and shell/slope size You get 10 to 25cm rise of sea level globally. Then You need add drop of continents - they are heavy and if You take out lava on wich continental plates float then they drop more than light oceanic ones. I do not bother earthquakes, they only destroy all shores. My rough estimates are from 50cm to even 100m(centimeters to meters, please do not edit that again) of sea level rise depends of where we talking.

Be sure that all coastial countries want see You dead long before You end Yours project.

BTW. this location means one of 2 things - You are part of USA or You are in total war with USA.

Frame challenge: Do You thinked about slow drop of some asteroid/planetoid? Energy needed shall be same level and You get only 8-12cm rise of seas. On other hand You get enormous amount of rare minerals and metals.

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  • $\begingroup$ The only answer I upvote out of present ones, for reason it barely, but touches the scale of the problem to be solved, scale of the problem created creation of such continent thing and thus directly touching OP's q. As suggestion remove usa thing, we have to assume earth planet, but we do not need to assume any political landscape in ops q, because it can be any. U not wrong there, if you have to express that point then say "if the political landscape then politcal wise u have to solve this and that" (but agree nuking job site looks like a good idea, like no brainer lol) $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Jun 24 at 15:04
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  • the only legit answer, becouse I took my time to clarify details, not like first in jumpers - upvote me for that now, muhaha
  • but it will be a short one, all spelling and grammar edits are welcome as per usual

Okay with near-future tech sprinkled with advanced ones, there is hope for the project, and indeed it more how to justify it.

Technology I consider is 2D-nanomachines son, which I call smart matter and it is described to some extent in one of my answers on wb, here so as elsewhere.

So near future tech check.

How to do? What to do? Reasons.

Objective - fight the consequences of global warming.

Expected goals to achieve:

  • reduce and revert global ocean level rise
  • remove the shortage of drinkable freshwater worldwide
  • replenish aquifers and reverse their depletion worldwide - file your request to the appropriate UN commission
  • make more ice on polar caps (polls show people want it more of it there - voters we are dedicated to hearing you)
  • abolish oil slavery and move to green lava energy extraction
  • enrich our technology development capabilities and assist in prediction and negating effects to build A big primitive computer in orbit, very big, powerfull but old technologies from 80's, what is a potential fiat money value for its use?
  • make successful pilot terraforming project for our future space projects
  • extract 160t of gold from seawater
  • extract 32'000t of uranium
  • resolve a shortage of rare elements, table - mineral makeup of seawater
  • create energy reservoir to cover all needs for humanity for the next few hundred years, with no carbon emission - green as beans, free of charge like sun
  • remove CO2 released in the past 12 decades
  • decrease acidification of oceans worldwide
  • move dirty production inside of the new continent with full recycling
  • decrease transportation cost of end goods for all countries of the Pacific region
  • make a place for a spaceport for E.M.

So some reasons are possible, some are just populus vox food, some are legit, not a full list clearly. So reasons for political and such - check.

So now a little bit on how, but at the same time about energy incentive. (Ah yeah, how and such in this section - was typical politicians promise/talk to catch your attention)

How to do? What to do?

  • this time for real, maybe, but no details, we keep it short, remember

Let's look at the energy aspect - if the thing is solid, then we talk 8 or a few 10's of millions cubic km's of material. Quite important is that its previous state is/was lava/magma.

Let's say Specific Heats of that magma in average 1000 J/kg/K, not an exact number but it close enough(700-1600 something like that). Temperature is 1273-1473K.

Then a cubic meter(!) of that stuff contains extractable energy around 250 kWh per cubic meter. A cubic km of it is equivalent to a powerplant producing 27 GW power over a year.

So 16 to 30 million cubic km magma definitely does contain enough energy stored in it to cover all the expenses associated with the project as energy for the project and making equipment and there will be profit, a huge one.

So basically the whole energy sector of the world economy can switch on that energy, and it may mean energy can become cheaper, with all the benefits having more for less.

So there are reasons from the perspective of economics and physics to invest limited energy, at least some percentage of it, to get access to more energy.

So the continent is a blob of lava contained by crust on sides(and the top, clearly) of it which is impregnated and reinforced by carbon nanotubes with help of nanotechnology, which helps to create such composite shell out of lava source/substance. Extracting energy on the way.

The initial sip of lava is done with help of nanotechnologies, not that it is not possible to do conventional technologies (okay, less conventional, but still technologies of our day). Nanotech serves as a tool that helps to conduct finer control of the initial stage, and as the main way to act under the crust in the way required by the whole process.

In general, it is an exchange - water and less dense cooled-down rock material from the surface with lava material from under the crust.

With nanotech, even if quite limited it may be not the best way to do things in such a way, but it may be a part of a bigger project (idk under crust intercontinental highways hypervelocity transportation routes mass drivers to space ....) so it may require to stock some lava somewhere.

  • not to say nanotech here is unrealistic, do not care that some may disagree on that they do not know any better, but to have a chance to mention Pumice rafts which seems quite regular events(once or few times a decade) as result of underwater volcanoes eruptions. There is a video(s) of a yacht in such a field fascinating sight but at the same time a possibility for a floating structure.

So there are reasons, there are possibilities, there are sparks of good tech. How it all clutches all together is up to your setting. But what you won't do, is to create an underwater Yellowstone volcano eruption, you have to control the release of energy because the energy stored in those million cubic km's of magma is 2-3 orders of magnitude of the energy earth gets per year. Not even talking about the side processes of all that if you do not contain and control the process, 13 million birds just died because they ate from some random Pumice rafts in the ocean.

You need to extract material and store most of it in form of lava, like a big continent shaled storage. It also needs(as it looks like) to replace the volume of lava extracted by water or water bottled in rocks which energy you already extracted. To keep first-order effects of magma flow at bay and keep pressure and stuff. And it makes sense to stuff these rock bottles somewhere in magma to sink, maybe continental cracks and/or in similar ways to dispose of replaced water.

Other channels to dispose of it is to refill continental freshwater supplies, as depletion of aquifers is indeed a problem in some places.

So funding and efforts can be quite hefty, so as returns quite lavish, and if some does not go to space such a project is probably the only option with such lavish results, and the continent is just a byproduct. On which it makes sense to host production, recycling facilities as it basically sits on many many GW of energy.

The problem of the project it is not strategic and despite its size and scale it loses all sense and reasons in less than a hundred years if space is allowed, except the under crust transportation system which can be a start for quite a big stuff. But hey not a problem for politicians eh? I guess, lol.

In general - magma is the biggest energy reservoir on the planet which dwarfs oil, gas, nuclear fuel, even the sun as well in some sense.

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