Advantages of Destroying the Isthmus of Panama

As many of you know, I often think on a big scale. Consider this posts to be another one in that line. Today I am going to talk about a type of geo-engineering that is both feasible and revolutionary.

Destroying parts of the Isthmus of Panama such to create a connection between the Atlantic and Pacific ocean that is at least 5 km wide and 1 km deep.

As some of you might know- we already have a small connection between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans through Panama called the Panama Canal. It is however too small and meant for allowing the passage of ships rather than allow the tow oceans to mix near the equator and change ocean circulation.

So how did I come up with this somewhat bizarre sounding idea? Well, as you know I have a broad series of interests in everything from weapons to geology and that led me, years ago, to something that most of you might not know about the Isthmus of Panama.

The land at its narrowest part of the isthmus is rather new on a geological time scale and was fully formed only about 3 million years ago. Prior to that the Atlantic Ocean was connected to the Pacific Ocean at both the equator and the poles. Consequently the circulation of water and currents in the world’s oceans were quite different from today. To make a long story short, the earth was much more warmer, wetter and greener than today.

Prior to the final closure of the gap between North and South America about 3 million years ago, ice ages did not occur. In fact ice ages as we know them today started around 2.6 million years ago. Similarly whales were plentiful even in tropical oceans and the main food item for large sharks such as the Megalodon who also flourished in those waters. Similarly there used to be forests in parts of Antarctica as recently as 3 million year ago. Even the Sahara desert was rather green before the beginning of the recent ice ages caused it to periodically transform into a desert.

The gist of what I am saying is that the formation of the Isthmus of Panama (especially its final closure) made the world drier, colder and susceptible to periodic ice ages. While you can partially explain ice ages by plotting long-term periodicities in the earths orbit around the sun- people cannot explain why these orbital peculiarities did not cause ice ages until the Isthmus of Panama finally closed up.

So how can we reopen the connection between the Pacific and the Atlantic? There are many options to do so.. however I prefer doing so with using low-fallout thermonuclear weapons. Why spend decades digging when you can do in a few minutes with properly placed high-yield and low fallout thermonuclear devices? A few dozen of these babies could easily create a canal about 5 km wide by 1 km deep and about 80 km long. In any case- the areas such canals would go through are almost inhabited due to the climate, topography and dense jungle growth.

The technology to do what I am suggesting is tried and tested, and the high-yield devices could easily be built from currently available nuclear weapons components. While there might be some complications such as relocating people in Panama, the increased productivity of the biosphere in other parts of the world would be many hundreds of times larger that destroyed to recreate the Atlantic-pacific connection.

What do you think? Comments?

Update: Have a look at this link. Basically my idea but on a much smaller scale.

This entry was posted in Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology, Thoughts on Economics. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Advantages of Destroying the Isthmus of Panama

  1. hans says:

    Interesting theory, has most likely more merit than any of the current man-made global warming “political” theories currently brainwashed into the unwashed mases.

    And of course would crap all over their current plan for us.
    Creating vast stretches of fertile land and fresh oxygen generating abundant rain-forests is the exact opposite of the current (obviously planned) worldwide trend of deforestation and destruction of fertile land through contamination with pesticide, GM crops and high-yield fertilization.
    Or outright removal of food-crops through fuel-producing or drug generating crops.

    BTW don´t look at that rinky-dink old Russian suicide bomb when contemplating that idea.

    Rather turn your gaze towards the little ducks they used to generate all those “funny” little recent earthquakes(i.e. Fukushima). That during the cold war would´ve triggered ALL the underground nuclear testing alarms. But somehow in our current “free” world fall completely under the radar.

  2. ThousandMileMargin says:

    You don’t need nukes to do this. You could dig it out manually over a couple of decades if you can come up with the funding. In another couple of centuries when temperateures have cooled and it becomes apparent that we are heading back into another glacial this may well be seriously proposed.

  3. Columnist says:

    Incredible. You are a man with vision.

  4. Webe says:

    Return 2 Paradise.
    Hard to guage the impact on the climate and economy, or collateral tectonic risks.
    It may be a while before the idea becomes politically “actionable”.
    Would probably have been easier to make a deal with Norriega.

  5. fascistbrah says:

    I read this and thought about it for a good 10 minutes and I was all for it.

    But then I realized that this would just be accomplishing what Global Warming fearmongerers predict: the rise of the oceans.

    If the planet is warmed up due to circulating ocean waters, currents, etc, the ice caps will melt and say goodbye for trillions of dollars of ocean front cities and real estate, along with the costs of all the damage to clean up everything.

    So if it really does work it theory, we are screwed. While you might gain livable ground in the poles and deserts, you lose the coasts and all the cities that lie there.

    • ThousandMileMargin says:

      If you just blew the gap and left it, you could expect temperature to rise to a level several degrees above the current level over 5 to 10 millenia. So yes there would be higher sea level.

      It would take several thousand years for all the ice to melt. If you thought it was happening too quickly you could partially dam the passage to reduce the flow.

      If we ever do something on this scale, we might as well stick some flood gates in there and regulate the flow. You then effectively have a thermostat for the planet. You can let more warm water through over time to counteract what would otherwise be an ice age, and keep the temperature where it is now. 100,000 years from now when we approach the next interglacial period you start cutting back on the flow. You’d then keep it shut for 10,000 years during the next interglacial so we didn’t heat up, then open it again as we started to cool.

  6. Why is it that I can envision the Great Men of the 1950s doing something of this magnitude, but the idea of us doing it today just seems absurd?

    (For sake of argument I’m taking the science behind this at face value.)

  7. Matt Strictland says:

    Davis M.J. Aurini :
    Why is it that I can envision the Great Men of the 1950s doing something of this magnitude, but the idea of us doing it today just seems absurd?
    (For sake of argument I’m taking the science behind this at face value.)

    Folk back than had much Hubris .

    we are a lot more cautious after having to deal with their screw ups with such delights rivers bursting into flames and unbreathable air, undrinkable water and rad waste we have no place to store.

    When in doubt don’t is never the wrong advice.

    That being said, its nice to see some ambitious ideas.

  8. MegaEarthload says:

    Something in the air making people think mega engineering…

    Plan B for Africa if this doesn’t work:

  9. x says:

    Big talk. What are you going to do about it?

  10. Neddy says:

    I thought that the ocean level on the Pacific side is higher than on the Atlantic because the gravity effect of the Andes mountains.

    If so then you would create the world’s biggest waterfall but I suppose you could generate a lot of electricity.

    For a few years to decades, it would be the worlds largest waterfall.

  11. Rob says:

    This will happen. Like others have already said, when we start entering back into a glacial period this will be our only option. Losing a mile or so of coast line is a lot better then a mile of ice over a quarter of the northern hemishere and world wide famine.

  12. Pingback: Interesting Links « oogenhand

  13. kwillow says:

    Would make a good plot for a disaster movie. Evil people plot to divide South america from North America.

  14. simple mind says:

    removing the isthmus would be a good start, but would rather use the nuclear weapons to chop off a mile or two of the himalayas whose rise also help cool the planet down(along with the isthmus) in the first place……yes, oceans would rise so cities would have to move, which is no big deal as would occur over centuries. Of course, much more land would be available for cultivation feeding the huge increase in populations

  15. Panama descendant says:

    I would definitely need to research to see if you are right and if you are then your idea is just fine except for the nuclear blasts. Although it would take more time to dig, it’s worth it. Some of these places haven’t been explored and who knows what would be destroyed by the blasts. So I agree with you but not with the way you want it done. Also anyone misplaced would have to be reimbursed properly for their contribution.

  16. SkyePark says:

    This could be done with a series of directed asteroidal impacts. The cost of a program to capture and redirect asteroids from the asteroid belt would be a small fraction of that needed to manually dig a trench. Redirecting asteroids is also preferable over using thermonuclear explosives that would (at even low yields) cause environmental issues.

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