## The EM Universe

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light?

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CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

This is an interesting line of reasoning you have going here. Here's my take. As a preview, the biggest difference between my filaments and the EU's is that mine are electrostatic, while the EU's are electrodynamic.

I'm saying that dusty plasmas collapse into stars because of an electrostatic body force. In a recent number crunching exercise, I found that a Debye cell, with a negatively charged dust grain and a positively charged sheath, exerts a slight repulsion on other nearby cells. Debye cells are net neutral, and wouldn't interact electrically at all with neighboring cells, except for the fact that they have positive charges around the outsides. This means that the closest thing to one Debye sheath is the sheath of another cell, and both are positively charged. Since the electric force obeys the inverse square law, if you add up all of the repulsions and attractions, the net force is a slight repulsion, due to the greater proximity of the sheaths to each other. But I also found that if something strips the sheaths off of the dust grains, the net body force goes from slightly repulsive to massively attractive.

As an analogy, imagine that you're going to lay some floor tile in a typical alternating pattern of blacks & whites. So your assistant starts opening up the boxes of tiles, and making little piles of an even number of blacks & whites, equally spaced across the floor, knowing that as you start setting the tiles, you'll need equal quantities of both. If blacks & whites were oppositely charged ions, each pile would be net neutral, and there would be no net force between the piles. But as you start setting the tiles in the alternating pattern, that changes. Each white tile gets only black tiles for neighbors, and vice versa for the black tiles. If those were opposite charges, there would be nothing but attraction between the tiles. And since each tile would be attracted to all of its neighbors, all of the forces added up would constitute a body force on the whole thing, which would cause an implosion. (This is why OSHA stipulates that ions should never be used for floor tiles -- it just isn't safe.)

So what does it take to strip Debye sheaths off of their dust grains, to create this implosive body force in a dusty plasma?

The two conditions known to trigger star formation are supernovae, and the collision of two dust clouds. In both cases, the sheaths would get stripped. This is because the smaller particles in the sheaths have less inertia and experience more friction, while the heavier dust grains have more inertia and less friction. Thus they behave differently when exposed to a contrary flow, from a supernova or another gas cloud.

What does this have to do with filaments?

When two gases collide, they don't just merge smoothly. Rather, jets tend to form, if the velocity is above the Reynolds number (i.e., lots of inertia and/or not a lot of friction). In a relativistic collision of plasma thinner than a laboratory vacuum, we'd call that a very high Reynolds number. Anyway, the jets allow the inertia to be preserved with minimal friction, because only the outside of the jet is in contact with the other medium. The Pillars of Creation, in the Eagle Nebula, looks exactly like this typical fluid dynamic phenomenon. It's also a stellar nursery.

So you're saying that the stars are forming around the outsides of the filaments. Are we talking about the same thing? Maybe. If the "filaments" are relativistic jets, tunneling through another medium because they are well above the Reynolds number, the friction is around the outside of the jets. And friction strips Debye sheaths off of dust particles, resulting in an electrostatic body force on the dusty plasma. The interior of the jets experience no friction, and thus their Debye cells remain well formed, and repel each other. So the star formation should be around the outside of the jets/filaments.
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Solar
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### Re: The EM Universe

CharlesChandler wrote:If the "filaments" are relativistic jets, tunneling through another medium because they are well above the Reynolds number, the friction is around the outside of the jets. And friction strips Debye sheaths off of dust particles, resulting in an electrostatic body force on the dusty plasma. The interior of the jets experience no friction, and thus their Debye cells remain well formed, and repel each other. So the star formation should be around the outside of the jets/filaments.
This *may* account for the integrated differences in "star clusters", "starless cores", and 'stars strung out along filaments':

IC 5146: The Cocoon Nebula is a “nebula” that contains an “open cluster” of stars.

An extended image of its surroundings reveals the presence of a filament with which it is integrated:

Dense filaments of gas in the IC5146 interstellar cloud

There are plenty of detailed observations & resolutions of multiple stars strung along and embedded within filaments as well as filaments bearing stars while attached to star clusters in nebula. The interesting thing in relation to this are the “starless cores”. These would be expanses like IC5146 above but with few to no stars; just the ‘expanse’ or 'cavity' primarily.

By extension then an interesting situation would occur. An increased number of stars would be found strung along filaments, and at the outer circumference, when friction is well above the Reynolds number due to the striping of Debye Sheaths. Momemtum in the direction of propagation for the outer sheath(s) of the “current” would become tapped as that momentum is exchanged with the exterior medium resulting in the formation of “eddies” or “knots” at the outside of the filament.

This might then leave “starless cores” as the result of a region being dominated by the mutual repulsion of the electrostatic force flowing within the sheath(s) collectively induced by dust grains with their Debye Sheaths still intact.

But the reverse would have to hold such that: When the density of stars strung out along filaments is low because of lower friction between the outer filament sheath and the exterior medium instead of finding “starless cores” one would see the formation of dense “star clusters” confined within the “cores” while the filaments reside primarily, but not exclusively, in “dark mode” (inferred Dark Clouds) connecting in between.

Statistical observations along these lines might prove fruitful. Doubtful that this will happen though because these known periodic ‘breaks’ in the filaments are already in full force being characterized as “gravitational instabilities” instead of what they are; plasma instabilities.

Celeste: This seems applicable to what we once mentioned very briefly with regard to you and J. Jhonson wondering what might be occurring at that scale; i.e. the appearance of the forces seeming to ‘take turns’ in ‘dominance’ relative to one another. I’ll cite this paper again to reference that and Charles's assessment:

The "Nessie" Nebula: Cluster Formation in a Filamentary Infrared Dark Cloud

Be sure to note pgs 13-14
"Our laws of force tend to be applied in the Newtonian sense in that for every action there is an equal reaction, and yet, in the real world, where many-body gravitational effects or electrodynamic actions prevail, we do not have every action paired with an equal reaction." — Harold Aspden

GaryN
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### Re: The EM Universe

On my list, seismology is in the same column as geology, plate tectonics, and standard astronomy, highly suspect of being a faux science. They are using computer models and algorithms applied to a model of the Earths interior that at the outset was purely assumption, and must be under suspicion as they too draw a lot of funding from grants. It is in their best financial interests to promote the accepted model.
They are presently installing a huge network of seismic sensors around the USA, all inked together by a communications network, and claim to be able to create a 3d model of worldwide seismic activity. Why didn't they also include sensors for electric and magnetic field properties at those locations? They may well have produced some interesting observations too.(Or maybe they did, didn't see it mentioned in the vid I watched)
I don't doubt that the use of seismology surveys by resource exploration companies works well, but at the much deeper levels there are too many unknowns as to how the data might be affected by a different model of the interior. Being a contrarian, I have to consider that the Earth may have a void rather than an iron core at the centre, and the centre of spheres can have some very special properties as far as energy concentration is concerned. Gaia may have an EM engine room of her own, as may all the planets and moons too, all inductively connected. What produces the excess heat output of Saturn?
That the Earth has shells with particular EM properties may also allow for Earth, being inductively coupled to the Sun, to generate molten material relatively close to the surface, so volcanoes and rifts may be from inductive heating in Telluric currents and not from rising magma from a deep magma pool. Until, or if, they get the neutrino tomography projects up and running, which of course will also need computer processing and a lot of math to interpret, I am not willing to accept that we have an accurate model of the Earths, or any other planet or moons interior structures, or of stars, based on helioseismology, which patterns to me look more like those produced by some wave mixing, resonance, 3-D cymatics type affair.
I don't know much about the Local or G Clouds.
Same here, but my imaginings begin with that large scale artists image with all those nodes connected by flux tubes, looking like a large section of brain. Within those tubes may be sub tubes, and sub-sub tubes, and the Sun and its entourage may exist within one of those filaments. Possibly on a chain of Suns, but a flux tube may be of a finite length that spans two areas of differing potential, those regions perhaps due to some very large ion acoustic waves within the tube. It's charge differential that drives everything, the idea of positive and negative electricity is not necessary, and areas of differing charge may also be created by antennas, which can consist of plasma, which can have fields of their own, etc. The field pattern of a loop antenna (a torus) will be the same as that of a dipole antenna if its circumference is the same as the length of the dipole, so which creates which, or are they one and the same? The daft things I think about eh?
Anyway, I'd rather be out laying the foundations for the REAL SCIENCE geology of Mother Earth, the Electric one! The rest of the Universe will just have to wait.
In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. -Buckminster Fuller

CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

GaryN wrote:That the Earth has shells with particular EM properties may also allow for Earth, being inductively coupled to the Sun, to generate molten material relatively close to the surface, so volcanoes and rifts may be from inductive heating in Telluric currents and not from rising magma from a deep magma pool.
I totally agree. I could never quite get how a mantle plume would melt its way through the crust, to create a volcano. There is no reason to think that a plume would be that much hotter than the rest of the mantle, because the heat conduction should be pretty good, and thus the temperatures should be pretty even. So if any part of the mantle is hot enough to melt the crust, the whole crust should melt. And if the plume is hotter, but not that much hotter, it should only melt partway into the crust before solidifying, 'cuz it expends its thermal energy melting cooler stuff. And buoyancy due to a lower density wouldn't matter -- not if the bubble is capped by a solid crust.

Then I started working through the implications of current-free double-layers (CFDLs), where tidal variations would drive telluric currents across the boundary. (So the CFDLs are not entirely current-free.) So there is a major heat source, roughly 7~35 km below the surface, where ohmic heating keeps the rock molten. Now, what happens if there are differences in conductivity in the overlying crust? Solid granite is an excellent insulator, but fractured granite (such as at tectonic boundaries) offers much less resistance. Telluric currents will then flow through the cracks. (A fracture only 1 nm wide is enough to allow a current.) Ohmic heating from the current will melt the surrounding rock. And molten rock is a much better conductor than solid rock. Now you have a lightning rock that will attract all of the currents in the vicinity. The more the current, the more rock it melts, and the better of a conductor it becomes, so it gets even more current. This molten lightning rod will then eat its way through the crust, until finally it punctures the surface, where magma superheated by the telluric currents will spew out into the atmosphere, perhaps explosively.

Then look at the steady flows coming out of Kilauea or Aetna -- that isn't just buoyancy -- not that high above the surrounding terrain. Rather, the magma is being pumped by ohmic heating through the magma vents.

Another thing that always confused me about volcanic eruptions is how there can be a minor eruption, and then a day later, the main event happens. If it was just hydrostatic pressure, this wouldn't be possible. But what if the magma is under enough pressure to be ionized by electron degeneracy pressure? Then as soon as the caldera fails, and there is a minor eruption, the pressure relaxes. That will enable a huge surge of electric current through the magma vents. Ohmic heating from that current causes the secondary eruption.

The implications of this go beyond just better volcano prediction. Consider the worst case scenario: Yellowstone. The magma chamber is pressurizing as we speak. What are we going to do about it? There isn't anything that we can do about it. If we try to drill a bore-hole into the chamber to relieve the pressure, we will merely cause that which we are trying to prevent. But what if it is ohmic heating from telluric currents that is enabling the magma to eat its way to the surface? That gives us a way of stopping it in its tracks. All we have to do is go about 100 km away from Yellowstone, and drill a bore-hole 5~7 km into the crust. As soon as we remove the drill, the hole will fill in with ground water, which is an excellent conductor. Now all of the telluric currents in the area will prefer that channel, instead of having to force their way through another 5 km of solid crust at Yellowstone. With the currents flowing through our new bore-hole, instead of through the magma chamber at Yellowstone, the ohmic heating is where we want it, not where we don't want it. So the magma chamber at Yellowstone will start to cool, and will eventually freeze up.

So what if the rock at the base of our bore-hole starts to melt? Who cares? With an open pipe all of the way to the surface, it can flow if it wants, but it will never develop any pressure, because it's an open pipe. What if this lightning rod eventually attracts enough current to melt all of the way to the Moho? Who cares? If the pipe is open all of the way to the surface, there won't be any catastrophic eruption, because the magma never had a chance to build up any pressure. Worst case scenario then will be just that we will have formed a new Kilauea -- but the new one will be right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. BFD.
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Sparky
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### Re: The EM Universe

CC
electrostatic body force.
What is the mechanical difference of electrostatic force. High voltage with low current, but if there is voltage, why does current remain low?
force their way through another 5 km of solid crust at Yellowstone.
There are steam vents. Are you saying that there are no holes at Yellowstone?
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CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

Sparky wrote:
electrostatic body force.
What is the mechanical difference of electrostatic force.
By "body force" I'm referring to the combined forces. For example, in a cubic array of ions, where each one's nearest neighbor has the opposite charge, let's think of the forces on just one of those particles. It has 6 nearest neighbors exerting force on it, in the +/- direction for the x/y/z axes. You could say that with equal tugs in all directions, the electric forces will cancel out, and the particle will just sit there in the middle. This is true. But this doesn't mean that there isn't any net force. It's true of all of the particles in the array, and there will be a net force pulling all of them together. So it isn't the simple electrostatic mentality, where you focus on just one test charge, and expect it to be representative of what all of the particles will do. In an electrostatic implosion or explosion, you have to look for body forces too.
Sparky wrote:High voltage with low current, but if there is voltage, why does current remain low?
High voltage with low current means high resistance.
Sparky wrote:
force their way through another 5 km of solid crust at Yellowstone.
There are steam vents. Are you saying that there are no holes at Yellowstone?
There aren't any vents going all of the way down to the magma chamber, otherwise those geysers would be lava instead of water.
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CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

Solar wrote:...one would see the formation of dense “star clusters” confined within the “cores” while the filaments reside primarily, but not exclusively, in “dark mode” (inferred Dark Clouds) connecting in between.
I don't know anything about Dark Clouds, but again, I'd like to encourage you and Celeste to pursue this, because looking carefully at the specifics will unravel the mystery of how stars form, in precise terms. Cheers!
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Sparky
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### Re: The EM Universe

Sparky wrote:High voltage with low current, but if there is voltage, why does current remain low?

-CC::
High voltage with low current means high resistance.

Well, yea..... But a spark is plasma and when we get an electrostatic discharge, the current still remains low...
"It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong."
"Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is an absurd one."
"Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

Sparky wrote:A spark is plasma and when we get an electrostatic discharge, the current still remains low...
Which spark are we talking about here? Generally, once the discharge starts, the plasma is superheated, and it becomes an excellent conductor, enabling the discharge to continue until all of the potential is gone. When the charge disparities have all been neutralized, there is no longer any voltage, and the discharge stops. I know you understand that -- I'm just laying the cards on the table so we can figure out what we're missing here.
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Sparky
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### Re: The EM Universe

I found this:
"Static electricity" is not electricity which is static and unmoving. Neither is it a form of energy.

Actually, the thing we call Static electricity is an imbalance. It's an imbalance in the amounts of positive and negative charges found within the surface of an object. Only the imbalance between opposite charges is important, and their motion or "static-ness" is irrelevant. For example, the imbalance can flow along as an electric current, yet it loses none of its familiar "static electrical" properties. While it is flowing the charge still crackles, glows, and attracts dust and lint. But how can we have "static" electricity that flows? Motionless motion? Simple. "Static electricity" is all about the charge-imbalance, and it has nothing to do with charges at rest. "Static electricity" was misnamed.

OK, then what exactly is "static" electricity? Here's a big clue. There's always a strong e-field (electric field) surrounding these charges, whether the charges are moving or still. This strong field is the main feature of so-called "static" electricity. But what's an e-field? One way to say it: an e-field is like a magnetic field, but it's electrical in nature. Another simple answer: an electric field is a voltage without a current. Whenever you have pure voltage, then you have a pure electric field with no magnetism involved: you have "electrostatics" without "magneto-statics."
Paschen minimum - this is a minimum voltage to break down an air gap between two electrical conductors.

1. Minimum to feel - 3,000 - 3,500 Volts
2. Mimimum to feel pain - maybe 7,000 - 10,000 Volts (person and body part dependent)
3. Minimum to Ignite vapors - Usually over 1200- 1500 Volts
4. Minimum to damage electronics - 10 - 1,000's Volts ???????
5. Minimum to physically damage plastic - 100,000's Volts
6. Biologically Damaging to a person - depends on body entry point and exit point. 20,000 Volts may cause nerve damage where 3,000,000 Volts may only flash over.

http://amasci.com/emotor/stmiscon.html#nine William Beaty site
It is not a buildup of anything, it is an IMBALANCE between quantities of positive and negative particles which existed beforehand. Matter is essentially made of electricity, of electrons and protons. The electric particles were already there; they did not have to build up. The charging process is an "un-cancelling," it's an event which occurs between the large quantities of oppositely-charged particles which were already present in matter. Contact electrification is more like "stretched atoms" than anything else. If we could take some atoms and pull their electrons far away from their protons, we would have created an imbalance of charge or "static electricity."

So, what is an e-field?
"It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong."
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CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

An e-field is what turns static into electricity.
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CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

CharlesChandler wrote:The implications of this go beyond just better volcano prediction. Consider the worst case scenario: Yellowstone. The magma chamber is pressurizing as we speak. What are we going to do about it? There isn't anything that we can do about it. If we try to drill a bore-hole into the chamber to relieve the pressure, we will merely cause that which we are trying to prevent. But what if it is ohmic heating from telluric currents that is enabling the magma to eat its way to the surface? That gives us a way of stopping it in its tracks. All we have to do is go about 100 km away from Yellowstone, and drill a bore-hole 5~7 km into the crust. As soon as we remove the drill, the hole will fill in with ground water, which is an excellent conductor. Now all of the telluric currents in the area will prefer that channel, instead of having to force their way through another 5 km of solid crust at Yellowstone. With the currents flowing through our new bore-hole, instead of through the magma chamber at Yellowstone, the ohmic heating is where we want it, not where we don't want it. So the magma chamber at Yellowstone will start to cool, and will eventually freeze up.
Nobody is going to pick up on what I'm saying here?

I'm talking about using existing technology (i.e., bore-holes have been drilled twice as deep as what I'm talking about) to prevent a mass extinction event (i.e., the eruption of a super-volcano).

Whatev. We're all going to die sooner or later -- it might as well be from apathy. I just want for a future species of archaeologists to find a computer under the ash layer from Yellowstone, with files describing what was going to happen, and how it could have been prevented it. This will help them figure out why we went extinct. They'll also get a heckuva laugh out of it. Humans were smart enough to figure this stuff out. They just didn't freakin' care.
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Solar
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### Re: The EM Universe

Sparky wrote: So, what is an e-field?
An electric field is a representative expression of stored electrical energy in a dielectric medium that supposedly undergoes polarization. Like the qualities of magnetism and impedance it is said to exist in “free space” under the name of the “permittivity of free space” or “vacuum permittivity”. By extension: “space” has been accorded as having electric properties with dielectric being one of them. The term “dielectric” means 'that which electricity flows through'.
1.2 Definition of ‘dielectric’
The word dielectric comes from the Greek ‘dia= through’ + ‘electric’, which was condensed into ‘dielectric’ for ease of pronunciation. In 1836 Faraday discovered that electric charges created by a high-voltage generator could not create an electric field inside a room enclosed by a metallic envelope what is since called a Faraday cage). In practice, electric field lines do not ‘pass through’ an electric conductor, in opposition to what happens with any material not carrying electricity (like glass or air). Faraday thus needed a new term to define such ‘non-electrical-conducting’ materials allowing the electric field to pass through and consulted William Whewell who, in December 1836, invented the term dielectric.

1.3 A basic reminder of dielectric properties of matter
In a dielectric material the conduction and valence bands are separated by a large energy gap so that there are no electrons available for electrical conduction: the interaction between an external electric field and the charges present in the dielectric is described by the so-called polarization. This phenomenon is the basis of the explanation Maxwell gave to the ability of a capacitor of storing electrical energy and then providing this energy in the form of electrical current. According to Maxwell, the electric field present in a capacitor deforms the distribution of charges (in some way stretches the atoms/molecules) of the material between the electrodes. When the electric field changes in time, the distributions of charges resulting in what he called a displacement current. - – Dielectric insulation and high-voltage issues: D. Tommasini CERN, Geneva, Switzerland pgs 1 & 2
Dielectrics are the actual “conductors” of “electricity” the seat of which exist in “fields”. "Electricity" in the "space" surrounding the wire is not the same as the electrification 'of' the wire by "displacement currents". Electrification, is the initiation of the "currents". These do not "pass through’ the wire. The wire serves as a waveguide and electrification occurs at its surface known as the “skin effect”. The wire ‘obstructs’ the flow of “electricity” and this ‘obstruction’ is what causes the electrification (the initiation of "displacement currents"). "Electricity" on the other hand is a quality of "space". Its not 'in' space, it is a quality 'of' what is called space.

Using these perspectives, what then, in the "space" surrounding the wire having dielectric properties - since it is allowing the lines of electric field to "pass through" becomes "polarized"?
"Our laws of force tend to be applied in the Newtonian sense in that for every action there is an equal reaction, and yet, in the real world, where many-body gravitational effects or electrodynamic actions prevail, we do not have every action paired with an equal reaction." — Harold Aspden

GaryN
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### Re: The EM Universe

@C.C.
Nobody is going to pick up on what I'm saying here?

I suppose it should be me, and I have to say I think your idea really does belong in the Mad ideas section. The energies that are both apparent, to me, and come to us through legend, tell of mountains rising and falling in hours and days, Atlantis or Pan may well have existed and sunk as described, huge areas like the traps with melted rock a few kilometres deep, everything just screams energy at levels we can not comprehend. I think if you put a ring of 10,000 of your boreholes around Yellowstone, and the Sun took a hairy fit, even 10,000 boreholes won't make a ha'p'orth of difference.
I'm mildly surprised that even EU proponents can not seem to accept the possible magnitude of t the forces impinging Earth, not just the surface, but to many miles deep most likely. Perhaps it's the belief in evolution that holds many back from acceptance of the mega-catastrophic events, but if it happened to Mars, as TB does promote, then, despite Earths magnetosphere, we should not be averse to at least considering that such events have occurred on Earth.
We're all going to die sooner or later
Well, now we'd have to get into spirituality and the metaphysical, that's for another thread, I think.
In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. -Buckminster Fuller

CharlesChandler
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### Re: The EM Universe

GaryN wrote:I think your idea really does belong in the Mad ideas section.

GaryN wrote:I think if you put a ring of 10,000 of your boreholes around Yellowstone, and the Sun took a hairy fit, even 10,000 boreholes won't make a ha'p'orth of difference.
Well, that all depends on the form of energy in that hairy fit. There once was a time when lightning was considered to be an act of God that no human could possibly manipulate. Something capable of blowing apart a tree trunk in an instant, from many miles away, seemed to be out of our league. Then Benjamin Franklin realized what kind of energy was doing the work, and decided that if he could get all of that energy to follow a different path, with just a little bit of encouragement, things might end better for the people on the ground. Thus lightning rods were invented, which have been saving lives and property ever since. And that's all that I'm saying about a borehole at Yellowstone. The heat source that drives magma bubbles can only be ohmic heating. Thermal bubbles don't rise up through solid rock just due to buoyancy. So it has to be telluric currents that have melted the rock. Once melted, it is a better conductor, so it remains the preferred path for all of the currents in the area. The total amount of force might be inestimable. But it might take only a little bit of encouragement to shunt that current off to another path. Before you dismiss it as mad, take a look at the physics.

http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2013/04/re ... llowstone/
A geological mystery lies beneath the majestic beauty of Yellowstone National Park. Once thought solved, the enigma continues to unfold through the lens of a young science known as magnetotellurics.

As accepted theory goes, over the past 16 million years a rising plume of magma in the Earth’s mantle produced massive amounts of lava and ash in a path stretching from the Snake River Plain to its current caldera — a volcanic crater in Wyoming, the Yellowstone “supervolcano.” It is widely believed that the Yellowstone caldera currently sits on top of that hotspot, a vertical “blowtorch” in the mantle beneath the Earth’s crust. The North American tectonic plate slowly creeps over the plume of magma, no faster than the rate at which fingernails grow. The plume sometimes oozes and other times violently erupts lava across an area the size of Rhode Island. Adam Schultz, a geophysics professor in Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, describes this mantle hotspot idea as “almost a cartoon view that Earth scientists have of why you get features like Yellowstone.”

Magnetotellurics (MT), the study of the Earth’s electric and magnetic fields, may turn this cartoon view on its head. The use of magnetotelluric surveys has exploded in the last decade thanks to progress in computing technology and geophysical instrumentation. Schultz’s colleagues at Oregon State — Anna Kelbert and Gary Egbert — have used magnetotellurics to reveal that large volumes of partially molten rock and potentially superheated water (hydrothermal systems) snake west underneath the crust and into the uppermost mantle west of Yellowstone. This molten trail continues westward along much of the Snake River Plain in Idaho and into Oregon. These findings complicate the expectation that a nearly vertical magma plume lies directly under the present day Yellowstone supervolcano, which was what is anticipated from a hotspot. Magnetotellurics has opened doors to stunning breakthroughs and fascinating discoveries, providing new perspectives that were once invisible to science.

From Magnetics to Melted Rock

With magnetotellurics, scientists measure variations in the direction and intensity of the planet’s natural magnetic and electric fields over time. They use these measurements to understand the properties of the rock, one of the most important being electrical conductivity. Generally, greater electrical conductivity can suggest the presence of extensively interconnected bodies of fluid within the rock. West of Yellowstone, magnetotellurics reveal a relatively shallow, hot, highly conductive region under the Snake River Plain.

[...]

Sweeping west to east, scientists are deploying portable arrays of magnetometers and electric field sensors in plastic boxes buried a foot or two in the ground. These small devices silently collect data over a period of one to three weeks, depending on the level of solar storm activity, which provides the source of their signal. Remarkably, the stream of charged particles emitted from the Sun’s atmosphere, the “Solar Wind,” is what makes this all happen. Some of those particles are captured by the Earth’s magnetic field and form gigantic electric currents that flow above the atmosphere, the most famous of which are the aurora (the Northern and Southern Lights). These currents cause other electric currents to flow inside the Earth’s crust and mantle, generating a signal that is detectable by MT devices.
So yes, the Sun plays an important role. What kind of role? It's telluric currents, attracted to the conductivity in the Snake River Plain. Can we shunt electric currents by providing an alternate path of even higher conductivity? Yep. How deep would we have to drill? Just down to the level of the magma chamber -- but some distance away from it. So that would be 5~7 km. Russians attempted to drill all of the way to the mantle, in the Kola Superdeep Borehole. Naaa, that wasn't crazy. Anyway, we got some useful information out of it. They didn't make it much past the 12 km mark, before the plasticity of the rock made it impossible to continue. (The borehole collapsed on the drill shaft.) So no, there isn't any way of drilling all of the way to the mantle. But 5~7 km is well within reach.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll spend the rest of the day sitting in a small boat, drinking beer and telling dirty jokes.

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