Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Emergency storage for Canada's gold

The Diefenbunker--a cold-war-era bunker built to house the Canadian government in case of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union--has a deep vault which was intended to house Canada's gold reserves during just such an emergency. The bunker is in Carp, a small town on the rail line just west of Ottawa.

The vault is about 25 metres below the surface, and looks like it would make a pretty good discotheque. Obviously, there is no gold there now.

Behold! Canada's gold reserves.

The vault was to be guarded by an impressive vault door.

Changes in pressure could make it impossible to open the vault door, so they had a smaller door that could be opened in order to equalize pressure between the vault and the entry hall.

They also created a narrow passageway completely around the vault, so it was less likely to be damaged in an earthquake. The vault would have been guarded, but rather than walk around the vault, each corner had a mirror in it, so that the guard could see all around the vault from one place.

Welcome to the underground

The plan was to move the gold somewhere where it couldn't be irradiated. Maybe the thinking was that radioactive gold wouldn't be suitable as a monetary base. I'm not sure I agree. The velocity of money idea suggests that the faster money circulates, the better off the economy is, and if all the gold had been minted into coinage and pumped into circulation, I think the radioactive coins would have really circulated.

Anyway, I took a close look for Canada's gold reserves, but didn't find any.


  1. 'I took a close look for Canada's gold reserves, but didn't find any.'

    Very nice report.
    The scene is what you'd expect to see at Ft Knox.

  2. Canada would have never had enough gold reserves to fill even a corner of that room, even at the height of gold convertibility. Really, this was a place where the Dief in Chief could flee from nuclear holocaust and have a pile of gold to count, to while away the days.

    BTW, I grew up during the cold war in Canada, and I remember being told as a child in primary school that even if we didn't declare war against the USSR and remained neutral, the Russkies would still nuke my city into glass because we were 50 miles from the US border and made steel. The idea was we'd get destroyed just to deny the Americans the opportunity of replacing their destroyed steelmaking capacity by invading our city.

    Things like that taught me at an early age that politicians thought of me as nothing but a number, and that's why I hate all politicians and governments today.

    1. Well, so they could have had all the gold there, and still had a dance.

      When the guide told us that the bunker was built to protect the essential portions of government in the event of nuclear war, I whispered to my son that he should ask the guide what the government's plan was for the rest of us.