High-Tech Volcanic Sensors Could Save 600 Million Lives
Man has created some amazing inventions to defend against Mother Nature.
Man-made levees can hold back millions of gallons of floodwaters…
We can build structures to stand strong in 100-mph hurricane winds…
Heck, some buildings can withstand the pounding of an earthquake measuring 7 (out of 10) on the Richter scale.
But of all the natural disasters we face, our ability to predict — or mitigate — volcanic destruction remains the most limited.
Especially for those who live next to these ticking time bombs.
Well, that won’t be case for much longer…
As senior analyst Jonathan Rodriguez writes below, scientists have essentially connected a volcano to the internet. And the data they’re pulling could save the lives of millions of people around the world.
Ahead of the tape,
Chief Investment Strategist, Wall Street Daily
The Taming of the Spew
As you know, volcanoes are awesome spectacles of natural destructive power.
They spew molten lava and thick clouds of ash into the atmosphere. They’re responsible for massive earthquakes.
And when it comes to eruptions, they’re largely unpredictable.
Outside of TV documentaries, many of us probably think little about the 1,500 active volcanoes above ocean level in the world on any given day.
But believe it or not, 600 million people live on or near an active volcano, according to the Royal Geographical Society.
That’s nearly 10% of the world’s population.
In fact, Mexico City — the nation’s capital and home to 8.9 million people — is located just 40 miles south of Popocatépetl, the country’s most active volcano.
Of course, it’s debatable why people choose to live in these areas.
But with millions of lives at stake, it’s imperative that a reliable system of early detection is put into place.
And here’s where the internet of things (IoT) comes in…
Dancing on a Volcano
Masaya, Nicaragua, is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
Formed 2,500 years ago and first recorded into history by Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s, Masaya has a long history of eruptive behavior.
In 2016, industrial giant General Electric Co. partnered with the Nicaraguan government and adventurer Sam Cossman to wire Masaya with Wi-Fi-enabled sensors.
The sensor nodes were developed by private Spanish tech company Libelium. The sensors will capture temperature, emissions and seismic data — and beam it down in real-time for both scientists and the general public to study.
Cossman, along with his team of like-minded explorers, zip-lined down to place more than 80 nodes along the interior of the volcano.
The raw data are hosted on an open-source network called Predix, which is owned by GE.
Scientists hope to use the data gathered from inside the volcano to create realistic simulations of volcanic conditions.
The more accurate our simulations, the better we can predict when a volcano will erupt.
Crack the Volcanic Code… and the Rewards Could Be Huge
So how can you trade “connected volcano” action?
Well, the pure play would be the young firm Libelium.
But unfortunately, Libelium is a private company. So until the company goes public, individual investors won’t be able to trade it until seemingly later down the road.
Of course, if the Masaya setup proves successful and can be replicated cheaply at other volcano sites… Libelium could be acquired outright by cash-rich GE or another savvy investor with public shares up for grabs.
Bottom line: With more than a half billion people living near an active volcano, a reliable early-detection system for eruptions is a top priority. And Libelium’s state-of-the-art sensors could finally make this elusive system a reality. We’ll have a close eye on this budding tech firm moving forward.
On the hunt,
Senior Analyst, Wall Street Daily