PDA

View Full Version : Natural Reactor at Earth's Core?



sarongsong
2005-Sep-27, 10:33 PM
September 27, 2005 (http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/27/news/story7.html)
"University of Hawaii physicists are working with Makai Ocean Engineering on a...60-foot sphere to detect ghostly neutrinos and anti-neutrinos in Hawaii's deep ocean...There is some local evidence supporting a theory that there is a natural reactor at the center of the earth..."

publiusr
2005-Sep-29, 05:14 PM
It doesn't surprise me.

Maddad
2005-Sep-29, 10:44 PM
Supposedly the Earth had a sphere of radioactives about eight miles at it's core way back when it first formed. Today it's shrunk to about five miles.

Kesh
2005-Sep-29, 11:23 PM
sarongsong, your link seems to go to the wrong page. Try this link instead (http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/27/news/story7.html).

There's two issues at hand here:

1) A theory proposed that a large amount of radioactive material might be found in the core which is under the right conditions to undergo fission. This says that there are pockets of this material in the core, reacting on their own. This is what the article is about.

2) There's also been an ATM proposal floating around that the core is not molten material, but is in fact one big chunk of fusable/fissionable material constantly undergoing reaction. Usually this is followed by an alarmist statement that the material is being used up and the typical "we're all going to die/buy my book" spiel. This seems to be based on a very off-the-wall reading of #1.

sarongsong
2005-Sep-30, 01:04 AM
sarongsong, your link seems to go to the wrong page. Try this link instead (http://starbulletin.com/2005/09/27/news/story7.html)...Thanks---I think what happens with this newspaper is that all NEWS stories appear together on the day of publication (along left column), then get assigned specific url's thereafter. Correction inserted.
More (http://nuclearplanet.com/eos_paper.htm) on natural reactors.

jkmccrann
2005-Nov-08, 11:53 AM
Is there any way we could use this, assuming its proven, as some sort of almost infinite power source? Would certainly solve a lot of problems we have if we could.......

trinitree88
2005-Nov-08, 10:31 PM
There are no infinite power sources. It's straight-forward, the three laws of thermodynamics. 1.You can't win. (no energy change will ever yield more energy than you began with...a dead heat).
2. You must lose. (All energy conversions transform at least a small portion of the useful energy into useless heat)
3. You can't get out of the game. (As we continue to use up all available energy sources, eventually all the energy is in the form of heat...i.e."the heat death of the universe". There is no way out of this. If we succeed in mastering Tokamak fusion...it will be a long while off, but it is coming, according to our physical laws.
Ciao. Pete.

hewhocaves
2005-Nov-08, 10:48 PM
beyond the obvious curret exploitation of geothermal resources... no, we can't exploit it. It's far too remote.

we're still better off with fission and solar and improving those things.

JohnD
2005-Nov-09, 12:05 AM
There was a natural fission reactor much nearer the Earth's surface at Oklo in Africa many years ago. There is an article in this month's SciAm about it: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=00078840-5C1A-1359-9B5C83414B7F0119

The most interesting point is that it was probably moderated by normal water, so that it pulsed, heating up until the water boiled (at about 300C as it was under pressure) driving all the water away, whereupon the neutrons were not slowed, the chain reaction stopped and the reactor cooled down again. A reactor in the Earth's core would need a moderator, and as the core is liquid iron is that possible, even under the extreme pressure there?

John

Jens
2005-Nov-09, 06:31 AM
we're still better off with fission and solar and improving those things.

Couldn't agree more, except perhaps for the fission part. I'm not an expert, but it seems to me there's so much solar energy coming our way on a 24/7 basis, we really don't need to look anywhere else if we can figure out how to use it most effectively, though photovoltaics, wind power, thermal power, etc. There's also tidal energy. I think people are working on generating energy by taking advantage of the temperature differential between the surface of the ocean and the deeper water. Taking solar and tidal forces together, it seems to me there's so much energy being poured into that that it seems like a virtually limitless source. It's just a question of harnessing it efficiently and in a cost-effective way. Of course, once the sun burns out they won't be available, but that's hardly a consideration we need to lose sleep over. . .

The Supreme Canuck
2005-Nov-09, 06:44 AM
Well, fission has proven to be a safe, clean, cheap, high-output way of producing power. Solar and wind are great, but they just can't compete with nuclear. Do you have any specific objections to fission plants?

publiusr
2005-Nov-09, 07:43 PM
I seem to remember EARTH magazine and an article about the very center of Earth's core being a crystal of "epsilon iron."

snarkophilus
2005-Nov-10, 06:27 AM
There are no infinite power sources.

Yes, but some sources could be effectively infinite. Anything that outlasts us may as well go on forever, no? I mean, if a core reactor won't run out until after the Sun blows up, what do we care? We'll probably need a new planet then, anyway.

Would you want to tap a reaction in the core? How would you determine the effects of doing so? Doing it experimentally seems like a really bad idea... :)

publiusr
2005-Nov-10, 06:02 PM
Would you want to tap a reaction in the core? How would you determine the effects of doing so? Doing it experimentally seems like a really bad idea... :)

We do it all the time. It's called geothermal energy.

Eroica
2005-Nov-10, 06:25 PM
Nuclear Planet (http://www.nuclearplanet.com/)

snarkophilus
2005-Nov-11, 01:17 AM
We do it all the time. It's called geothermal energy.

We don't really use the core, now do we? We use a small portion of the crust.

publiusr
2005-Nov-16, 08:02 PM
We don't really use the core, now do we? We use a small portion of the crust.

That has to get its heat from somewhere...

sarongsong
2005-Nov-25, 08:22 AM
One explanation (http://www.coasttocoastam.com/gen/page1197.html?theme=light)...

Kesh
2005-Nov-27, 01:52 AM
:doh: