Thursday, July 12, 2007

Closer Than We Think! Polar Oil Wells (1960)

Sometimes ideas of the paleo-future not only elicit a chuckle for their scientific improbability but, in the case of "Polar Oil Wells," political improbability. Baby penguins watching their habitat melting wouldn't be a very popular image today.

This Closer Than We Think! strip ran in the January 17, 1960 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

Valuable oil deposits thousands of feet under Arctic and Antarctic ice caps may one day be brought within reach, thanks to plans now being developed.

French Navy engineer Camille Rougeron has an idea for using giant thermonuclear pumps to draw up water from under the ice. Such water, which is 7 degrees above freezing temperature because of the pressure on it, would in turn begin to melt the ice.

Constant stirring would keep the warmer water coming to the surface. The ice in a designated area would gradually melt. The way would then be clear for conventional oil derricks to go to work.

See also:
Closer Than We Think! (1958-1963)
Closer Than We Think! Polar City (1959)


Anonymous said...

Not only that, there seems to be a basic failing of physics here -- if the water is warmer due to pressure, wouldn't it cool off when brought to the surface and released from pressure?

But also, I question whether the water is warmer "due to pressure". Though ice does melt to a liquid state under pressure, that doesn't mean its temperature is rising (particularly by several degrees). Witness an ice skater's tracks re-freezing immediately upon passage of the skate.

Anonymous said...

OK, sorry, I can't resist poking more holes...
How exactly would it be *easier* to use "conventional oil derricks" on liquid (thawed) ocean, in lieu of a solid ice surface?! In fact, wouldn't the oil companies be thrilled to drill on solid ice, and would welcome a means to freeze oceans solid (so as to avoid having to build giant floating rigs)?

This all just screams of classic future imaginings based on "we could do it" technological applications, without first being filtered for practicality.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks...if you have been reading the news lately Russia, the U.S. , Iceland and others are scrambling to get to the North pole to drill 25% of the worlds oil, now possible through Global Climate change and the shrinking polar cap.