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Earth Power Science

West Virginia Is Geothermically Active 239

sciencehabit writes "Researchers have uncovered the largest geothermal hot spot in the eastern United States. According to a unique collaboration between Google and academic geologists, West Virginia sits atop several hot patches of Earth, some as warm as 200C and as shallow as 5 kilometers. If engineers are able to tap the heat, the state could become a producer of green energy for the region."
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West Virginia Is Geothermically Active

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  • Warm River Cave (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @05:29AM (#33792526)

    Makes me think researchers are idiots; folks who live there have known about the hot springs for hundreds of years.

    Places with names like 'White Sulphur Springs' suggest anything? And there's a cave I've been in nearby (admittedly over the line in Virginia) with water temperatures over 100F.

  • Re:How 'Green'? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @06:26AM (#33792650) Journal
    OTH, somebody like Google will have no issue with putting in their OWN system, setting up a data center, and shipping bits/bytes out. What would that do to WV? It would lead to a massive influx of money seeking to do the same. And that would lead to the high tension lines as well. For WV, this is the best thing possible.
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @06:37AM (#33792682) Homepage Journal

    Thats okay. Our brown coal won't run out for thousands of years at the current rate!

    But seriously we have so much flat, empty and hot land in this country we should be getting in to photovoltaic and solar thermal energy production. Transmission losses aren't really a big deal.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @06:43AM (#33792700) Journal
    Just because somebody does not offer up a full explanation of the issue or thoughts on it does not mean that it was not considered.
  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @07:00AM (#33792748) Journal

    Uhhh...have you actually SEEN the slushpits around the mines here in the USA? It ain't like the EPA has had any teeth in years buddy, sad to report. Instead of doing what would be sensible, forcing mines to pay into a fund so when the ore runs out the money for cleanup will be there, no our corporate booty kissing government just gives them carte blanche to do as they please, and then when the mine runs dry they just dissolve the company and leave We, The People, to clean up the mess. As an example you might want to read up on a little slice of heaven known as a superfund site [].

    I'm not a NIMBY, which especially don't apply here since I'm not in WV (thank Jebus), and I'm all for nuclear and mining, but I'm just as much for corporate responsibility which sadly has been DOA here for a couple of decades here at least.

  • by kenh ( 9056 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @07:07AM (#33792764) Homepage Journal

    Too bad Senator Byrd passed away, he could have diverted tens of billions of dollars to WV to fund this effort, then we could have had the Robert Byrd Hot Air Energy Generation Facility, and his legacy would live on!

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @07:17AM (#33792790)

    does not mean that it was not considered.

    Then how did you get it so wrong or at least out of date?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @07:31AM (#33792856)

    I live near to (formerly right next to) The Geysers, the most geothermally active spot on the planet.

    I think the birthplace of the word "geyser" [] would disagree with you on that assessment.

  • I'll support Solar Power sometime after the manufacturers of Photovoltaics start powering their factories with Photovoltaics.

    Is your support somehow interesting?

    Until then, STFU about Photovoltaics. Really.

    Telling me what to do? Fail.

    Even the manufacturers don't use it, AND THEY GET THE HARDWARE AT COST.

    We are still permitting secondary effects to be ignored. If you count the cost of cleaning up the pollution produced by coal and oil plants then the cost of using that type of energy is MUCH higher. Unfortunately, we do NOT count that cost. We do not even hold power plants to our own EPA standards. You can find out-of-compliance plants as fast as you can pay people to climb stacks and drop probes in them. If we were to actually force the industry to pay the cost of its own monitoring, and then further actually force them to be in compliance, the cost of solar would become more attractive.

    Your protests basically amount to making excuses for the entrenched energy monopolies. I am not interested.

  • Re:Are they sure? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @09:40AM (#33793638) Homepage

    ...and waste taxpayers money by taking care of the waste.

    There's no such thing as nuclear waste, only nuclear fuel you haven't configured your reactor to burn yet.

  • Re:"shallow" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @09:44AM (#33793674) Journal

    Current drilling tech gets us to 10 kilometers or so, so the short answer is "yes."

    Considering we're willing to (and do) drill for oil that deep I can't see depth being the real problem here.

  • Re:Earthquakes (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:32AM (#33794780) Journal

    Which makes me think of a question maybe someone here at /. can answer: Can miners/drillers set off enough "little ones" to cause a big one?

    Yes. Doesn't even have to be mining. Deep well injection set off a series of earthquakes in Denver in the 1960's [] -- when what they were injecting was millions of liters of nerve gas from Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Yes, indeed, your government funds at work: make hundreds of thousands of pounds of wildly toxic weapons of mass destruction in contradiction to signed treaties, and then when you have them all and don't know what to do with them, pump them into a 25,000-foot-deep hole. They lubricated an old slip fault and caused a half a dozen earthquakes.

    The thing is: it's not easy to tell, prima facie, whether you're going to cause a bunch of little earthquakes, or one big one, by doing this. It has been proposed that we should try to set off small earthquakes on purpose, to reduce the strain on tectonic plate boundaries and reduce the chances of a much larger quake, but there's no way to ensure that it would do that rather than just setting off the larger quake right now. If we do that, even if it just sets off small quakes, the situation is no longer an earthquake that's an act of God, but an earthquake that's an act of man, meaning even if it's much smaller than it would have been, specific people are now liable for causing an earthquake, and that's a legal minefield.

  • Well, I did RTFA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sean.peters ( 568334 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:35AM (#33794836) Homepage

    And I have to say I was a little amazed. Geoscientists were surprised to find geothermal activity... in WV? The land of hot springs? Yes, you are correct that hot springs don't necessarily imply good geothermal energy production... but it's certainly suggestive. I still don't understand why anyone found this surprising.

    it idiot's who don't RTFA

    And speaking of idiots - don't use an apostrophe to form a plural.

  • by sean.peters ( 568334 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:41AM (#33794914) Homepage
    ... to all the currently operating PV and wind energy generating systems out there. Seriously, have you ever driven in the US? There are wind farms all over the freaking place. Lots of home solar PV installation businesses are going like gangbusters. And all of this activity is useless (or even against the laws of physics)? I don't think so.
  • You must have a sugar-high with all that kool-aid you've been drinking. You decry a grand conspiracy by the entrenched energy monopolies, but the reality is that those same energy monopolies dont really give a shit how the energy is generated.

    That is an incredibly stupid thing to say. Of course they care. They want to generate energy by the most profitable means possible. So long as they are not forced to pay for their pollution, or indeed even to maintain reasonable standards of emissions (I am personally acquainted with a former public sector plant inspector who was paid to climb stacks and virtually everything out there is over spec because it's profitable to be) then it is more profitable to burn coal and oil. And indeed, the current price of those commodities is predicated on being permitted to produce significant pollution while producing them, or put another way, not being prevented from doing so — which is effectively the same thing.

    This is of course not to say that PV solar panel production is clean and green. However, it can be so. The more solar we put on line, the more power for the production of additional solar will come from solar. It is a pity not to have started in the 1970s when it first became feasible.

  • Re:Are they sure? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:47PM (#33795840)

    You made that waste, you should have to pay for it being taken care of.

    Note, for reference, that one of the main objections to civilian processing (as opposed to government) of nuclear waste is that there is a certain amount of Pu-239 in that waste.

    For some reason, governments seem to have a problem with letting that stuff wander around outside their own direct control.

  • Re:Earthquakes (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @01:07PM (#33796110)

    If they are setting off earthquakes they would be releasing tension which would have only amounted to a larger earthquake at a later date.

    That assumes a closed system. They could be releasing strain locally and building up stresses in surrounding areas.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle