Communion Of Dreams

First contact.
December 27, 2008, 11:05 am
Filed under: Art, National Geographic, Science, Science Fiction, tech

No, not that kind.  Rather, first contact of a technological kind:

“First Contact With Inner Earth”: Drillers Strike Magma

A drilling crew recently cracked through rock layers deep beneath Hawaii and accidentally became the first humans known to have drilled into magma—the melted form of rock that sometimes erupts to the surface as lava—in its natural environment, scientists announced this week.

“This is an unprecedented discovery,” said Bruce Marsh, a volcanologist from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, who will be studying the find.

* * *

The drilling was being conducted for an existing geothermal power plant built to harvest heat from the world’s most active volcanic zone, Kilauea volcano, which has been spewing lava continuously since 1983.

Don Thomas, a geochemist from the University of Hawaii’s Center of the Study of Active Volcanoes, said it was just a matter of time until some drilling operation there struck hot magma.

OK, not exactly a borehole pressure mine (gods, I love that game), but still very very cool. Or hot, to be literal. 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit.

I’ve had an idea about using such a source for doing cast stone sculpture – pouring molten magma into heat-resistant forms – I wonder if they’d be interested in having an artist in residence?

Jim Downey

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