For the last several years, Mt. St. Helens has been increasingly more active; steam frequently vents in a somewhat dramatic fashion and magma can be seen at night via one of the online webcams. Experts have used their expertise to expertly report that one of two things will happen: a) nothing at all, or b) a really big explosion. It seems as if a is a pretty safe scenario, but b could cause all sorts of problems.
The eruption in '80 caused massive destruction in the immediate areas around the volcano, incited chaos and confusion on roadways for hundreds of miles around, and caused a disruption of the quality programming our viewers expected to see on television by live news coverage. We are still feeling the health effects of that much ash in the environment, which is slightly less of a concern than being sick to death of seeing every little steam burp on the nightly news.
Remedying this situation has taken up the forefront of my mind for nearly a year now; with the help of a few people in the local Cacophony Society, I think I've finally come up with a solution to the problem.
Know how the bomb squad uses controlled explosions to prevent much larger accidental ones? My plan is based on that principle, but the execution is much simpler. We will use a scientific process to 'diffuse' the eruption capability of Mt. St. Helens using household chemicals.
First off, we simply need to fill 10% of the volcano's caldera with ordinary baking soda. That's a roughly 1 square mile area that we'd need to cover to a depth of 400 feet or so. Multiplying that out gives us 1.338 trillion cups baking soda, a requirement which shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
Let's move ahead shall we? The next ingredient we need is roughly 81.2 billion gallons of vinegar, which we'll store in nearby Spirit Lake until time to cause our eruption.
Our last ingredient isn't really necessary, but will add a nice flourish: 8 billion 1oz. bottles of red food coloring. These should be added to the vinegar in Spirit Lake. Stir.
Once we are ready to activate the volcano, all we need to do is to pump the colored vinegar from Spirit Lake up into the caldera. Because of the time required to pump that much vinegar, the reaction will start out relatively slowly, only building in power as more vinegar is added. The escaping gas will demolish the lava dome a little at a time, allowing all the pressure to slowly escape -- thus diffusing the explosive power. Once the reaction is complete, there will be a gaping maw where once a lava dome resided. Mt. St. Helens will never interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast again, and the Pacific Northwest will finally see Hawaiian-style red 'lava' flowing down the sides of our volcano.
My plan is to coincide the end of the diffusing process with the last day of my nephew's Science Fair, where he'll win the largest First Place ribbon ever recorded.