Would it be possible to raise a piece of land (say the size of Texas or France) from the bottom of an ocean (say, the middle of the South Pacific)? More specifically, would it be possible (given the wealth & technical means), to

  1. "cookie cut" cut a circular slice at the bottom of the ocean, say between the Easter Islands and the Equator
  2. cut horizontally under the "cookie"
  3. drill one or several wells to the core of the Earth
  4. let the pressure from the molten core to push up the cookie until it breaches the surface
  5. collapse the wells with a few nukes buried close to the wells and various depths

Would something like that be possible, or would that be doomed to fail?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So like resurrecting Atlantis? $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 22:33
  • $\begingroup$ I actually had not thought of that, but I suppose you could think of it that way - only with everything happening through technology. $\endgroup$
    – JDelage
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 22:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The volume of water your country will have to displace is enormous, I assume you're not worried about tsunamis? $\endgroup$
    – tls
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ I think that if the raise is slow enough, there shouldn't be any tsunami. $\endgroup$
    – JDelage
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ What is the maximum timeframe you are willing to wait for your new land to "grow"? hopefully not THIS fast $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 2:42

4 Answers 4


The plates float and oceans are deeper than continents because the oceanic plates are heavier. There is not enough pressure to raise the cut off piece of the plate to the surface, it is too heavy. Any pressure would just come out at the edges that had been cut.

But there is a way to create new countries, kind of. Nuclear bombs can be made directional (the US even developed some for use as EMP weapons), and AFAIK there is no real upper limit to the size of thermonuclear bomb. So you could make a bomb that can cut a hole down to sufficient amount of magma. And if you made enough of the bombs you could get enough of the lava to get your small country. So it is just a matter of money for a nuclear power.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

There are just some minor issues, though. First, exploding large amount of nuclear devices of unprecedented power would not make people happy with you. Thermonuclear bombs could be made relatively clean, but there is no way to get rid of the shockwaves, electromagnetic pulses, tsunamis... So you'd become pretty unpopular very fast.

Not that it really matters because as soon as the magma started flowing all that would be forgotten. Feel free to read the Wikipedia article on Large Igneous Province as that is essentially what you are trying to create. Pay attention to the part there they list all the past extinction events that have been linked with fast creation of large amounts of land with volcanism. Including the one that is also called "the great dying" because it made the majority of everything go extinct. Of course every single hole created would also qualify as a massive explosive eruption.

So this would only make sense if you do not care about every single person on the planet dying, large number of species going extinct, and triggering a new ice age. Probably a short one, but still. Seriously the nuclear winter people used to worry about would have been child's play. And while you can probably come up with a way to trigger the eruptions that does not involve ridiculous number of nuclear explosions, you can't really avoid the consequences of enough magma to raise a small country erupting when your goal is to create a small country from erupting magma.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ 'Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn'? $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 23:04
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't talking about drilling with bombs - only using bombs to close the wells afterwards. $\endgroup$
    – JDelage
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 23:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JDelage Yep, sorry forgot to mention, THAT would not work. The plates float and oceans are deeper than continents because the plates are heavier. There is not enough pressure to raise the plate to the surface, it is too heavy. Any pressure would just come out at the edges that had been cut. So the result would be more or less the same, the land you'd get just would be shaped like a ring. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 23:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @HDE 226868: Its a Cthulhu reference. I'd say leave it in, because it is really amusingly placed in the answer. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 1:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Another possible problem with bombing the sea floor is the potential to end all life on earth by releasing all the methane that's contained in the methane hydrates. That would be on par with waking elder gods in the "bad things" department. $\endgroup$
    – AndyD273
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 21:49

That's pretty much what Hawaiʻi is. You could locate a mantle plume in the area you want, and thin out or weaken the crust over it. Perhaps just punching a hole is enough in the story, with the plume needed in natural cases to punch through the crust, and artifial means are used to speed the outflow.

  • $\begingroup$ Hawai is a vulcanic island, its not the result of a plate raising $\endgroup$
    – Jorge Aldo
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 3:55
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it's new material squeezed up, not the existing ocean floor lifted. The effect is a big piece of land. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 4:40

Or much simpler, you can use biorock to grow artificial island in shallow reef areas like Saya de Malha Bank - area of 40,808 km2 (15,756 sq mi).

  • $\begingroup$ Very cool idea but too slow. Also, I want something that clears the surface of the ocean by a reasonable height. $\endgroup$
    – JDelage
    Commented Dec 13, 2014 at 23:31

Extending the answer by Peter Masiar:

Biorock is not too slow. Facing tsunamis and magma E.L.E. means you are going too fast.

Use biorock and the reverse of this japanese demolition technique:

Set up the foundation:

  • Build underwater a plain mesh of steel girders in the general shape of your desired country. Set a solid foundation below the girders, on the bedrock. This mesh will have to support your entire country's weight.
  • Grow enough biorock around the girders. Since biorock has the strength of concrete, you are basically making one huge concrete slab underwater.

Prepare your landscape:

  • Make a second mesh of girders, in the general shape of the landscape of your country. Hills, valleys, lakes, riverbeds. They will have to get some dilaltation gaps, since it is going to be overwater and subject to weather.
  • Put your landscape mesh on hidraulic jacks. Grow biorock over the mesh but not on the jacks.
  • Also plan for the underground water veins, and the freshwater cycle. You want freshwater on your country, do you?

I command you to rise from your grave and rescue my daughter... (oh, wait, strike the grave and daughter part).

  1. Raise the landscape using the jacks. Bind more girders below the landscape slab, and grow more biorock. Remove the jacks and place them below this layer.
  2. Repeat #1 above until you get to the desired height.
  3. Once the landscape slab clears the ocean level, seal the biorock so it does not degrade.

Now we need earth.

  • At this point, you have a huge concrete structure sticking out of the ocean.
  • add gravel, earth, dirt over your landscape slab. You will need to add several meters of gravel and earth so you can grow trees and have the rainwater infiltrate the soil.
  • Grow trees and vegetation in order to lock the earth in place. You will also need to wait a couple years for the loose soil to settle before moving in. Grow a forest, and think of all the hardwood you can cut once you move in. It could be Paul Bunyan's wet dream come true. Also to recover some of the building costs.
  • Now you are ready to start building your city.

Added bonus: seal the meshes, pump out all the water, and now you have an underground maze to boot.

Added bonus #2: since you are already growing biorock, you get to do your coral reef for almost no added cost. Time to put Australia to shame.

It would take some decades to build it, and it depends on the ocean depth and desired height, but it is doable with current technology.


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