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  • A volcano is one of the most unforgiving natural phenomenons on Earth.

  • If you were to fall into its magma-filled center,

  • your body would quickly bubble up, and disappear without a trace.

  • So if they're so good at getting rid of things,

  • why aren't we using them to get rid of our garbage?

  • This is WHAT IF,

  • and here's what would happen if we dumped our trash into volcanoes.

  • Americans alone generate about 254 million tons of trash per year,

  • and although dumping it into volcanoes might sound like the perfect way to get rid of it,

  • it wouldn't be that easy.

  • Volcanoes might look like nature's garbage incinerators, but in reality,

  • they're much more dangerous and unstable,

  • not to mention a lot harder to get to.

  • Would overcoming these obstacles be worth it?

  • Or would dumping our trash in volcanoes just cause even more harm to our planet?

  • The first obstacle in our quest for volcanic garbage disposal

  • would be finding an active volcano that can get the job done.

  • There are only about 1,500 potentially active volcanoes worldwide,

  • and most of them aren't located anywhere near humans, for obvious reasons.

  • That means that getting all our trash to an active volcano

  • could turn out to be pretty expensive,

  • and once we get there we may find out it's not even the right kind of active volcano.

  • The kind of volcano we'd be looking for is called a shield volcano,

  • a slow-erupting variety that contains the iconic lava lakes

  • that gradually spew out onto the Earth.

  • Unfortunately, these aren't very common.

  • You're more likely to come across their angry cousins, known as stratovolcanoes.

  • Stratovolcanoes are known for their explosive eruptions,

  • caused by the build-up of pressure from hot gas and magma.

  • In other words, they're probably not the safest location for the town dump.

  • But let's say we're lucky enough to find ourselves a nice active shield volcano;

  • before we worry about the logistics of getting our trash there,

  • let's figure out if it's even a good idea to dump it inside.

  • If you were one of the first waste collectors hired to drive up to the vent of a volcano,

  • you'd quickly start to question your career choices.

  • The vent of a volcano is a treacherous environment full of poisonous gases,

  • lava splatter, and projectile rocks;

  • and things only get worse once you start throwing stuff inside.

  • In 2002, a group of Ethiopian researchers threw a 30 kg (66 lb) bag of trash into a volcano,

  • and the results were explosive.

  • Lava lakes are unstable, so

  • if you pierce their surfaces with something cold, like trash,

  • you'll trigger a chain reaction of explosions involving pressurized and acidic steam.

  • So can you imagine how big these explosions would be

  • if you threw an entire nation's trash in there?

  • Well to put it in perspective,

  • rockfalls into lava lakes in Hawaii have sent lava 85 m (280 feet) into the air,

  • so it'd probably look something like that.

  • Even if you could safely get your trash into the volcano,

  • you'd still have to worry about all the air pollution

  • created by burning our waste without filters.

  • Plus, not all materials will completely break down in lava,

  • which means that the polluting remnants could erupt out

  • and contaminate the surrounding landscape;

  • not ideal if you were hoping to burn nuclear waste, for example.

  • Add these environmental impacts on top of the fact

  • that shipping all our trash to these volcanoes

  • would significantly increase the carbon footprint of the waste disposal,

  • and the whole thing looks like a terrible idea.

  • If we're going to burn our trash,

  • why not at least do it some place where we can use the heat released through incineration

  • to create new sources of energy?

  • Or, instead, maybe we could just shoot our garbage out into space?

  • Surely there can't be any harmful effects there... right?

  • Well, that's a topic for another WHAT IF.

A volcano is one of the most unforgiving natural phenomenons on Earth.


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B2 中高級 美國腔

如果我們向火山中傾倒垃圾?(What If We Dumped Our Trash into Volcanoes?)

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    Jim 發佈於 2021 年 04 月 06 日