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Power Science

Iceland Eyes Liquid Magma As Energy Source 215

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists in Iceland have been studying and utilizing the power of geothermal wells for years. In 2009 one such study hit a standstill when a group ran into magma halfway into their dig. The roadblock has become a blessing in disguise, as recent research has shown that the magma can act as a potent new source of geothermal energy powerful enough to heat 25,000 to 30,000 homes."
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Iceland Eyes Liquid Magma As Energy Source

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  • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:01PM (#35260296) Journal

    There are a few supervolcanoes around the world. Yellowstone has been going off about every 3/4 million years for around 20 milllion years, and it's due. Toba nearly wiped out humanity 75000 years ago. Can we do anything about it? Defuse them by sucking all the power out of them with geothermal energy extraction?

  • by onepoint ( 301486 ) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @01:38PM (#35260492) Homepage Journal

    I am no way near as smart as a volcanist ( sp?) but I would think that the concept would work as a power defuser ( as you mentioned ) but yet over time, you would create a champagne cork, it might pop when the earth choose to burp and there is not a flexible surface ( right now it's flexible but if you take the energy out of it, you would reduce it's flexibility.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 20, 2011 @03:51PM (#35261368)

    on top of the fact that magma close enough to the surface for us to meddle with is has basically left the core, and is no longer relevant to the magnetic field.

  • by JustNilt ( 984644 ) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @04:44PM (#35261710) Homepage

    I was speaking to a real vulcanologist that works at Mt St Helens a while ago. The current thinking is it's not so much the heat energy alone as gas buildup that causes these massive eruptions. The heat is apparently a small part of it but the amount of gases dissolved in the material is what tends to make eruptions happen. When there's not enough gas in the material, it stops erupting, they now think.

    It sounds to me as though major eruptions are kind of like what happens when you shake a soda then pop the lid while the constant bubbling ones such as we see at St Helens lately is more like what happens when the carbonation just bubbles and your straw slowly climbs out of the glass. The conversation was one of those "well, duh!" moments to me that once you're told about it the whole thing makes so much more sense than before. When I said so, he laughed and said much the same thing happened to him when his colleague came up with it.

  • by avtchillsboro ( 986655 ) on Sunday February 20, 2011 @05:04PM (#35261832)
    Iceland could be the Saudi Arabia of the Hydrogen Economy: An island nation, w/practically unlimited geothermal energy--with which desalinate seawater; and for making electricity to break the molecular bonds of all that H2O.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.