Tag Archives: explosion

Bang, and the bolt is gone!

There are some who swear that the best and fastest way to remove seized nuts and bolts on a Land Rover, is to use an angle grinder, and then just replace the bolts afterwards.

I say nope. Use the right tools and most of the time the fasteners will free up.

Don’t use the angle grinder as your ‘go to‘ fix it all…

Especially if the bolts are holding on the fuel tank and are covered in fuel, and the metal they are bolted through is also saturated in fuel…

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Sure, the angle grinder *will* remove the bolt, but it will also, vigorously, remove the fuel tank, most of the rest of the vehicle (from itself), sections of garage and garden, limbs and most definitely any body hair.


Death from above…or below?

I have been following the geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park with some interest. It is one of those problems that has experts talking – as although it is an old problem. It is one that is quite unique – and funnily enough, we have no modern data on globally catastrophic earthquakes and volcanoes.

Potentially it could wipe out life as we know it – but it could also just dribble. We sit on a World that is in constant danger from meteor showers, we are at the beck and call of global climate anomalies and every day is riddled with dangers that we just don’t know about (which is often good!).

There was an interesting fact on “QI” with Stephen Fry:-

What is most likely to kill you? Being struck by lightning, or being hit by a meteor?

Oddly enough the meteor was the answer, as when you work out the odds, being hit by lightning  is less likely to happen than a total global destroying meteor strike.

This is based on the fact that a catastrophic meteor collision would wipe out everyone,  where as a lightning strike may be a more frequent event Рbut it generally only hits a single person at a time. Total population wipe out by meteor is 1 in several million, where as one lightning strike hitting (not killing) someone is around 1 in half a million.

So you see, we live continuously, but obliviously in dangerous times, so why worry?

I digress again though, as the main purpose of this blog entry is to present this fascinating article by Richard Brill, who is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. I found the article in the “Star Bulletin” online, and have been given kind permission by Richard to publish it on my blog – so many thanks to Richard Brill.

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Quake swarm at Yellowstone may signal blast

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 04, 2009

More than 250 small earthquakes occurred in Yellowstone Park between Dec. 26 and Monday.

Scientists wonder if last month’s swarm of tremors, the most numerous and intense in this area in many years, might be a harbinger of a larger event.

Yellowstone National Park sits atop a supervolcano. The entire park is the depression of a caldera more than twice the size of Oahu that is the result of an unimaginably large eruption some 600,000 years ago.

By comparison, the caldera left by the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 is about the size of downtown Honolulu.

Saint Helens ejected 1.4 billion cubic years of ash that was detectable over an area of 22,000 square miles.

The last Yellowstone eruption, which was not even the largest in Yellowstone’s history, ejected 2,500 times the ash of the Saint Helens explosion.

Should we be alarmed by this uptick in activity?

Scientists studying Yellowstone from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Utah and National Park Service at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory say that recurrences of cataclysmic eruptions are not regular or predictable.

A supervolcano eruption at sometime in the future is inevitable with 100 percent probability. Eight supervolcano eruptions are known from the geologic record and there may be even more.

Although nothing, including the recent earthquake swarm, points conclusively to an imminent eruption, the researchers note that Yellowstone erupts about every 600,000 years.

Geologists continuously monitor the inflation and deflation of the Yellowstone Plateau, which indicates pressure changes in the magma chamber that lies as close as 5 miles below the surface in some places.

The elevation of the caldera is 35 inches higher than when measurement began in 1923, and it has been moving upward since mid-2004 at a rate of up to three inches a year – more than three times faster than has ever been measured previously.

An explosion matching the last Yellowstone eruption, which released 60 million times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb, would most certainly result in millions or even billions of deaths worldwide, both directly and indirectly.

One study predicts that half the U.S. could be covered in ash up to 3 feet deep. Earth could experience a “volcanic winter” with ash in the atmosphere keeping sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface for several years.

The largest supervolcano eruption within the last 25 million years occurred at Lake Toba in Sumatra 73,000 years ago. The energy released was at least 15 percent greater than Yellowstone and 20,000 times greater than the largest human-made nuclear explosion.

It plunged the Earth into a volcanic winter, and might have eradicated 60 percent of the human population, leaving as few as a thousand breeding pairs to propagate our species.

We cannot predict, prevent or prepare for such cataclysms, but we must be humbled by the knowledge that such events have been and will continue to be an important part of the history of our planet on geological time scales.

Without them we would most likely not be here at all, and they might someday render us extinct like the dinosaurs.

Richard Brill is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. E-mail questions and comments to rickb@hcc.hawaii.edu.

More interesting articles can be found HERE – or just click on his photo.

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One thing that never crossed my mind is the effect even a lesser eruption could have. I read somewhere that a smaller eruption could still send clouds of ash up into the local area, and as such it would fall and settle on reservoirs etc.

Local Nuclear power stations rely of this water to cool the reactors, and if it is that water is to badly contaminated, they will not be able to clean and filter it quick enough to supply the reactors. On top of this, there would not be time to shut down the reactors safely. As such there would be scattered nuclear disasters similar to Chernobyl.

This is all theory and off of the web mind you – but it does make you think about the potential knock on effects of a large eruption.



Big bangs are a washout

It has been suprisingly quite for a Guy Fawkes evening. Only a few whizz bangs could be heard as Alex took his bath – any excuse to publish a photo that his future best man can use!

It seems more people are going to organised displays – such as the NRA Bisley one we took Alex to. They are so much better than back garden events, with major orchestrated fireworks going off to music. A back garden display wouldn’t even be able to get hold of the pyrotechnics that those organised events launch.

I remember a display at a Hells Angels run bike show. You wouldn’t expect it to be tame – and if you had done, then you would have been shell shocked! It still stands as the only display where I’ve felt the shock wave of an explosion really knock the air from my lungs, as for a split second the black of night became as bright as a summers day. I’m sure there are people with post traumatic stress, shell shock and arc eye from that show!

Hells Angels and the UK National Rifle Association… Let’s face it, if anyone is going to pull the stops out with big bangs, then these two must be on the top five!

Alex chattered away about the fireworks, but after his bath there wasn’t much to see out of the windows of his room. Maybe there will be more shows come the end of the week – I’ll keep an eye out, as I’m sure Alex would love to see more!

I suppose that the drizzle and rain hasn’t helped with fireworks tonight though. It was so miserable and cold today I didn’t even do my Nordic Walk – which means I’ll need to put in some extra tomorrow. I woke up cold though, and my back was particularly painful, so I guess a day of rest with some physio prescribed exercises before bed will suffice for one day.


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