From time to time I wonder at the marvelous processes that drive the inner works of this fine planet and how it all, so neatly, seems to fit into an amazing pattern. During this past week, with the advent of Noel on our fine beaches, I had occasion to venture to Peggy’s Cove. It is one of my favourite places on Earth. And every time I venture out I find something new to marvel at.
Watching the surf pound itself into oblivion wave after wave is a perfect way to while away the hours. The rocks around Peggy’s have been next to water in some way or another for more than one half a billion years. The continents have been drifting about the face of the Earth for nigh on four-and-half-billion years and show no sign of stopping that process. The reason is that a scant 100 kilometres beneath my feet and that roiling ocean the Earth is hot, incandescent and plastic. This mantle’s movement is what drives what we call plate tectonics.
I remember hearing about a project back in the sixties, whose purpose was to drill a hole through the crust to the mantle of the Earth, to the hot magma, product of radioactive decay, and tap into a free, pollutionless, endless source of energy. I remember wondering why it was abandoned and why we headed off to the moon. It was at the same and would have born infinitely more fruit and so much less expensive as well. That project was called the Moho project.
You see the crust is primarily made of of a oxidized compounds of silicon and calcium and carbon and is by and large poor in metals. The mantle on the other hand is rich in metals like iron and nickel. The places on the crust where we do find an abundance of heavy metal deposits, chances are it was created by an impact that dredged up the elements from the mantle.
In addition to metals there is also the thermal boon, the limitless quantities of heat that we could tap into to drive our turbines and engines. We could pump water into the hole and it would vapourize and be the motive to generate electricity. Clean, limitless and would never shut down, pollute or end.
Like the waves pounding against the rocks, we keep pounding away at fossil fuels and close our eyes to the wonders that lie so close and yet so far away. Imagine a clean world of hydrogen cars, where thermal power would drive the fractionation plants that would create the clean fuels for almost any process we could think of. And the waste? Water. Clean pure and ready to be released back into the ecosystem.
Now that is a footprint I would like to have.
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