60

Getting caught in a thunderstorm is the most likely cause. This can happen even to experts if they are incautious enough to take risks with the weather. Here's an example with a paraglider. (I'll see what I can find for a hang-glider) Ewa Wisnierska was sucked into a powerful thunderstorm while training for the world paragliding championships in ...


57

Your best bet would be to manually set off a series of smaller, "controlled" eruptions to bleed off the energy and pressure of the caldera. You'd use underground mapping to identify weak points near the edge, then drill and set off explosives. Something small, like an atomic bomb. This will cause an eruption, and it will be nasty, but it's not the entire ...


49

No You don't make a suit to survive a pyroclastic cloud. Much like a hurricane the problem isn't that the wind is blowing; the problem is what the wind is blowing. Sure you could make a 4 ton mech suit; won't stop it from getting trashed by a 6 ton flaming rock. A pyroclastic cloud is much like an avalanche, only that it can contain temperatures hot ...


28

It's possible. Summary: At sufficiently high pressure, the water will not boil as it normally does inside earth's oceans. Heat loss through convection can be stopped by naturally occurring phenomena (salt concentration gradient in natural or man-made solar ponds stops convection). Lava has a temperature of about 700-1250°C. Water's critical point though ...


27

If a volcano erupts in the forest and there's nobody there to see it... The post humanity nature of this question makes a big difference, what's left of the natural world will be thriving BBC Ash Within 3-4 days, a fine dusting of ash could fall across Europe, according to a UK Met Office computer forecast commissioned by the BBC. The computer ...


27

Lava in its liquid state is always red hot. The red hot is actually caused by blackbody radiation and is a side effect of any object hot enough to melt rocks. However, objects that hot cause water to spontaneously boil, which cools the outermost shell to a sub-red-hot level. For an example of what it really looks like, turn to Youtube!


23

Lava is a "hot fluid" [citation needed]. The technology to handle the "liquid" part is obviously available during medieval era, as irrigation is already known for centuries. For example, the first dutch polder was build from 1609 to 1612 with windmills. Digging a hole somewhere so that it can thereafter be filled with liquid is really not a challenge. ...


23

There is no easy way to make it erupt Sure you could say drill a deep enough hole and fill it with explosives or an H-bomb and let it go. But the key here is pressure. For Yellowstone to be an extinction level event it needs to have enough magma pooled up to burst. What screws up the planet isnt the lava but all the gas and debris shoved into the ...


23

Make a balloon suit instead of a fire suit Protecting a person from the dangers specified will require all the available payload space they have, ie, knights in shining armor don't carry anything else except for their armor and weapon. A suit that can withstand the temperatures, heat and pressures involved in a fast moving pyroclastic flow will be ...


16

Your best bet and it is not a guarantee would be to start using geothermal power generated under that volcano. By 'sucking' out the heat faster than it is being pushed near the surface. This could provide a LOT of energy for powering the country. The hard part would be getting enough energy out to help, which might include actually drilling small '...


16

I think the hardest problem would be that lava doesn't exactly sit nicely like water does. Its constantly depositing rock as the lower edges cool. Your moat would constantly be changing shapes as lava from the volcano flows through your channels. I got the privilege of photographing the lava flows in Hawaii. One of the things they warned me before we ...


16

Well, the maximum possible would be about 510 million square kilometres, eg. the surface area of the earth: The hypothesised Theia impact would have probably resurfaced much of the earth. The largest flood basalt actually found would be the Siberian Traps, a mere 7 million square kilometres. The problem is that no-one is really sure quite why large igneous ...


15

As you've mentioned, you don't need a mountain. Just a volcano...preferably a mega-caldera like Yellowstone. Now we can ignore pesky gravity limitations and focus in on the geological issues On an Earth-like planet, this is going to be hard. If you want a Caldera the size of Wyoming, you are going to need a similarly large hot spot to fuel it, or are going ...


14

The eruption would do absolutely nothing to "Earth as a whole". On a geological scale, it's a minor blip, nothing special. Has happened hundreds of times. The effects it would have on the climate are rather difficult to predict, analyses of previous supervolcano eruption e.g. Lake Toba don't seem to agree well. They vary between "other parts of the world ...


14

With a reasonably small (but very expensive) drill actually. The reason dormant volcanoes like Yellowstone or Taupo are quiet is not because they are no longer being feed heat and magma but because they're in Isostatic Equilibrium; the weight of the soil, rock, and even water on top of the magma chamber is in balance with the pressure in the magma chamber ...


14

Likeliest - but alas already taken - answers anon's: "there is no easy way". I'd go for that one, even if it's anticlimactic. Ash's: "drill a hole in the magma chamber to trigger outgassing". By far the best "can do" answer, but it requires Yellowstone to already be in a close-to-eruption state (there must be enough dissolved gas in the right conditions). ...


13

What we're concerned with here is the eruption column and subsequent plume arising from the volcanic eruption. This is a shield volcano, so it's not going to erupt a la Mount St. Helens; rather, it will slowly spew out material. Granted, for a volcano this large that's still going to be quite the eruption. First, let's figure out some basic properties and ...


13

No, nothing you could carry will allow you to survive a pyroclastic flow, and nothing that cannot survive a large bomb explosion will survive one either. THis is what the forces involved can do, this was a steel reinforced concrete column, that has had several inches of its surface scoured away by a single event, the forces involved also ripped the top off ...


13

Google Surtsey. http://www.surtsey.is/pp_ens/gen_3.htm This was an undersea volcano that formed off the coast of iceland. National Geographic had a series of articles on it. The water was shallow(130 m), so the island didn't have to make a huge thickness of land to get above the surface. Before breaking the surface, there was a lot of bubbles, floating ...


13

The largest surface available on Earth is, of course, the entire surface of the planet. An impact with enough energy to melt the entire crust would create a planet wide plateau of molten lava.


12

If I remember right, the global temperature would only have to drop by 3 degrees Celsius in order to throw the world into a new ice age. In 1991, Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted and lowered global temperatures by 0.5 degrees Celsius for a couple years. So in theory, if 6 volcanos of the same magnitude–a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6–were to ...


12

So, first of all, there's no particular reason that geothermal heat has to be dangerous. Scandanavia makes VERY extensive use of it and always has. The use of geothermal heating for exactly the kind of purposes you're describing goes back to the paleolithic era. Ultimately, there are only two sources of thermal energy available to a planet. Radiant energy ...


11

Is this large enough? If you've ever heard of the Permian–Triassic boundary, about 251 to 250 million years ago, the Siberian Traps are what caused it. Well, the Permian-Triassic boundary is such a bland term for it. A better word for it is the Great Dying or the Great Permian Extinction, Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all ...


11

This would be really bad. The United States would experience short-medium term economic devastation and be hit by major economic aftershocks for many years thereafter. Let’s make an assumption that there is broad scientific agreement that the eruption is definitely going to happen with a six month warning period (this is unlikely in practice, but a useful ...


11

You are talking about a Large Igneous Province The Siberian Traps erupted about 250 million years ago and covered an area of about 2 million km$^2$ with 1 to 4 km$^3$ of rock. That is an area the size of Mexico, or 15% larger than Alaska, and it was enough lava to bury the landscape in something in the range of a km deep of lava. An alternative type of ...


11

By being an island arc volcano. You seem to be referring to hotspot volcanoes, which are fed by abnormally hot regions of the Earth's mantle. As the continental plates drift by overhead, the area fed by the hotspot changes over time, and so you end up with an island chain in which the older, dormant islands have eroded to almost nothing, but the islands ...


11

Short answer: nope. TL;DR: unless your kinetic penetrator resembles the Chixulub impactor it will be too small to do the job. Longer answer: a kinetic penetrator cannot penetrate very far into an object. A "rod from god" was expected to have a terminal speed of "mach 10", which at sea-level is about 3.5km/s, which is high but not super high, so lets use ...


10

A thick molten core suggest very strongly that you are referring to a rocky planet. This also means that given standard theories on planetary formation, the composition of the mantle and crusts would also likely be earth-like. Further, we could infer that chemical composition from volcanic activity would likewise be similar. I will assume these conditions as ...


10

This all comes down to the mechanics of the forcefield. Does it allow the heat from the lava to pass through and be carried away by air convection on the inside? If it does then the lava will cool and solidify. If it doesn't then it will not. It really is that simple - and without knowing the behavior of the forcefield there is no way for us to guess. Note ...


10

Hotspots You don't really need them, but they exist and would show you where to put island chains. Also, hotspots on land can produce interesting features such as Mount Kilimanjaro and the Yellowstone geysers. Diffuse boundaries Not all plate boundaries are 'set in stone.' There tend to be folding zones where collisions happen. The areas labeled 'Diffuse ...


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