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Re: Planet X: TUNGUSKA as Example

Default User wrote:
> *SIGH*

Yeah, I agree...

> No, it doesn't, because it's _frozen_ (and, technical point, not flash
> frozen, either). This lack of decay is exactly why we find mammoth
> carcases in Siberia in the first place.

Uh, just recently they dug up a whole carcass, intact and it was not
decayed.  Did you ever find a dead animal in your yard?  Bet you found
it by smell first and it was "fresh" too...  I don't know what your
definition of "flash" is but mine would definitely include the ability
to freeze an oversize elephant solid for 12,000 years without decay.

> The heat from which never reaches the surface...thus, permafrost is called
> _perma_ frost.

Soooo, you are suggesting that once something freezes, it can never ever
under any circumstances warm up?  Its called permafrost because it is
frozen all year and so is not subject to the same thawing as more
temperate regions, not because it has been frozen since the beginning of

> Do you have _any_ concept of HOW MUCH CH4 would have to release ALL AT
> ONCE to create a Tunguska-sized event? It would diffuse far to rapidly
> during a gradual release, as CH4 is lighter than air.

No, and neither do you, obviously.  You are confusing "yield" with
destructive power.  Do you will remember Desert Storm, those pictures of
the 1,000 pound bombs going through the air conditioning ducts blowing
out all four of the sides of a building and such?  A 1,000 lb bomb
detonated in air at 1,000 feet will be (more or less) just a (real) loud
bang. The same bomb detonated over top of an aircraft  on the ground
will cause considerable damage and one detonated INSIDE a building 
will blow it to smithereens.  The damage in the three regions is very 
clear and well understood.

In an air burst, the actual explosion starts from a very small region
and acts to heat up the air to an extremely high temperature.  This
starts a shock wave which radiates out from the center.  The initial
fireball is very hot and energetic, but it radiates a lot of its energy
away in heat, which escapes at light speed.  As the fireball expands, it
cools rapidly (according to the gas law, pv=nrt) and the resulting
explosion is "just" the overpressure shock wave.  By the time it reaches
the ground it is so dissipated it hardly matters.  (One of the reasons a
nuclear bomb is detonated as an air burst is just because of that
initial release of heat.  This starts a firestorm which is much more
destructive than the overpressure that follows.  The other reason is 
because its so dang hot, it gives time for the shock wave to build up
in size.)

A bomb detonated directly overhead has the ground to reflect the shock
wave.  A shock wave is emitted from the fireball and strikes the
ground.  The earth, being rather large, reflects the energy back up
(more or less).  Getting hit with two shock waves, back-to-back, in
contrary directions, is more than many material objects can stand so
they break because of the sheer waves.  Still 1/2 of the total energy is
simply wasted as it is directed up to the sky.

A bomb in a building is confined from all sides (essentially as if in a
bottle) so as the shock wave expands, it keeps encountering objects to
reflect the energy back.  Anything rapidly gets fractured to bits as it
is being hit with repeated waves in very rapid succession.

During Desert Storm the USA used "fuel-air" bombs.  These had
approximately the same weight as regular bombs, but vastly more
destructive power.  On the trigger, the bomb would "detonate" just
enough to widely disperse the fuel.  A time delay guaranteed that the
fuel achieved a sufficiently wide dispersal and adequate mixing with the
available oxygen.  A final spark is all that is needed.  The flame front
is supersonic and as energy is dumped into the overpressure wave, the
flame continues to burn and add more pressure.  This process feeds on
itself BECAUSE it is relatively slow compared to "just" a great big lump
of C4 or TNT.  A 1,000 lb yield fuel air bomb made life very unpleasant
for the Iraqi troops below because it incinerated them, hit them with a
large overpressure and blew their brains out, and whoever survived,
suffocated from lack of oxygen.  This extensive damage occured over a
much larger area than a "regular" TNT bomb ever would.

So the bottom line is, you have no idea how much CH4 is needed.  You are
confusing apples and oranges.  Just because the damage estimate is
listed as "an effective yield of so many tons of TNT" does not mean it
is so many tons of methane too.  Just ask the Iraqis.  Specifically, the
dead ones.
> > North Sea wreck in Methane Mystery
> > BBC News, November 29, 2000
> >
> >     A trawler found at the bottom of the North Sea may have
> >     been sunk by a massive and very sudden release of methane
> >     gas, scientists speculated on Wednesday.
> The article never mentions the gas _exploding_, and admits that the CH4
> theory is pretty far-out.
> The type of release described here is impossible on dry land- one needs
> the pressure of the water above to hold the gas down. In any other
> instance, the gas would slowly diffuse into the air in near-undetectable
> quantities.

Uh, make up your mind, is it "permafrost" or not?  What is frost: ice. 
What is ice: water.  Also your explanation probably is no comfort to the
thousands who died by the lake in Africa from CO2 poisoning.  So much
for the "slowly diffuse" theory.

An interesting article on the amount of methane that can be stored in
strange places is in the December 1999 issue of Scientific American.

I quote:

"Interest in hydrates has skyrocketed in recent years because global
deposits are thought to harbor more fuel energy than all the world's
coal, oil and natural gas reserves combined."


"In 1996 Suess and his colleagues were the first team to recover methane
hydrate from the ocean floor, with the help of the research vessel,
Sonne. Then last summer at Hydrate Ridge they discovered something that
they had never seen before: Fizzing chunks of hydrate, some the size of
refrigerators, broke off the sea floor a kilometer deep and floated to
the surface before disintegrating."


"Almost certain to push the hydrates "over the edge" would  be the
occurrence one of the magnitude 9 earthquakes that  hits the area every
650 years or so, says Chris Goldfinger of Oregon State University." ...
"Thin carbonate rock encrusts the bent part of Hydrate Ridge like a
chocolate-dipped ice cream cone, Goldfinger says.  Using sonar
reflections to map the shallow seafloor, he and his colleagues have seen
that this thin shell has cracked in certain places and is now sliding
down the ridge's steep sides.  "My guess is that when these magnitude 9
earthquakes go off, the game board changes completely in just a few
seconds," he says. "That's when you might get a  "

Do you know what "catastrophic release of methane all at once" means in
English?  Come on, I know you do!

Also, have you never heard of trapped deposits of hydrocarbons?  (like
coal, oil and natural gas deposits)  Do you think they were ALWAYS
underground?  Do you think that the origin of all of these "fossil
fuels" is completely understood (in spite of the obvious degree of
sophistication of commercial exploitation)?  If so, can you provide a

>   -Jonathan :)  
>(yes, I was really bored today)

Surely, bored or not, you can come up with a much better retort than
this.  (Hmm.  Maybe you can't...)
The Small Kahuna