Re: underground bases

Message posted by Tom on December 09, 2002 at 20:57:50 PST:

The picture is legit. What you are looking at is one of two (I think there were two) Air Force TBM's (tunnel boring machines). They were used out at the NTS (and maybe Yuma??) for boring tunnels for testing of underground MX missile placements. Remember the good ol' days of the Cold War? One of the more expensive ideas was to have a vast network of underground tunnels that the missiles could be shuttled around on railcars. That way, they would be difficult to target. A lot of concepts for this were tested at the NTS before eventual abandonment.

I think most of the MX stuff was in the Jackass Flat/ Yucca Mountain area.

The pictured machines, while neat, with an AF logo and all, were conventional TBMs. The most stunning thing about them was what became of them when the MX program died down. It's my understanding they driven down under a mountain out there and abandoned in place. Too expensive to relocate. Hey, why not, they were paid for!

As for the Subterrene patents, it's fairly well known (or should be!) that impossible things are patented all the time. For example, every few years someone patents a new version of an arrangement of oddly rotating weights that supposedly can produce thrust. These turkeys are known generically as "Dean Drives", named after one of the more prominent promoters from the early 1960's. Freshman physics shows that these things can't work, yet the USPTO routinely grants patents.

As far as I know, these nuclear boring devices remain strictly theoretical and probably impossible. The only way they can possibly work is if there are voids in the rock that the molten rock can be forced in to. It's been my experience that most solid rock is pretty damn voidless! Now that's not true of soils, which can have a significant percentage of voids.

Rock is as about compacted as you can get. You can melt it, but that doesn't make it magically go away. You now have an equal volume of molten rock on your hands. The only thing you can do with it is pump it out the ass end of your nuclear boring machine, but then that's essentially what a normal TBM does with ground up rock. The reason underground nuke blasts create such nice caverns is that they do indeed compress the rock away from the blast for many meters, but that takes far more force than any nuclear boring machine can produce.

As an experiment, take a large block of ice and force a large diameter heated rod through it. You can not do it without a volume of water equal coming out the end of the hole you melt, equal to the volume of the melted "tunnel".

The rock's gotta go somewhere.....


In Reply to: Re: underground bases posted by gary on December 08, 2002 at 23:56:42 PST:


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