Ancient super volcanoes, the key to our future energy

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We have to stop using abundant fossil fuels as they are destroying everything. And while there is no shimmering bullet to get rid of all our climate difficulties, electric cars could be one way we can start to lower down the carbon dioxide discharges. But in order to make electric cars, we need to make batteries that can produce enough steam to run cars. And for that, we need lithium.

This light, glittering metal is becoming hard to come by. Most of the planet’s lithium supply comes from volcanic rock sediments in Australia including salt flats in Chile. But as we extend mining those deposits to power our cellphones, laptops, and power tools (and to construct things like nuclear weaponry and psychiatric medications), the scope of what we can do with lithium-ion batteries becomes more confined. We can’t use what we can’t find.

But a modern study distributed in the diary Nature Communications recommends that researchers from Stanford University and the U.S. Geological Survey might have discovered an innovative origin of lithium in North America’s supervolcanoes.

Sounds impressive! But what does that even mean?

Supervolcanoes are volcanic features whose explosions can be up to 10,000 times more prominent than an average volcano. They spread magma up to 240 cubic miles (1,000 cubic kilometers) in all areas and build extensive calderas enormous holes that continuously fill up with rainwater over time. Crater Lake in Oregon is a magnificent example of one of those lakes created by a superoutburst that occurred thousands of years ago. How does this concept help us make batteries? Over tens of thousands of years, lithium from the volcanic sediments leeches out of the water that replenishes the basin, and the metal descends to the bottom, building clay described as hectorite.

Colorado including Wyoming, despite investigating samples from comparable places in Mexico and Sicily, conducted research to discover exactly how much lithium we could expect to squeeze from an antiquated super volcanic rock. The research unit looked at examples of rock of caldera sites in Nevada, and according to the researchers, the possibilities are good.

If you have a lot of magma ejecting, it doesn’t ought to have as substantial lithium in it to invent something that is worthy of financial investment as we previously believed, said co-author Gail Mahood, a professor of geological sciences at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, in a press announcement. You don’t need exceptionally high frequencies of lithium in the magma to form lithium precipitates and reserves.

Mahood said we’re working to put electronic vehicles and large storage batteries in use which will help us reduce our carbon track.