Hear the earth humming – Solar power??That’s nothing, compared to volcano power! Can we use them to fuel our homes? A volcano is erupting in Hawaii, attracting tourists and threatening over 8,000 people.
Geothermal energy is clean, quiet and virtually inexhaustible, and could provide 250,000 times more energy than the world uses every year, with no impact on the climate or the environment. But how can you harness a volcano?
In LiveScience.com, Molika Ashford reports that the US government is spending $30 million in order to figure out how to do just that. If they succeed, they would find a source for 100,000 new megawatts of power, which is more electricity than is produced by all of the nuclear power plants in the United States.
How will they do it? Ashford writes that the process works like this: “after making a well, engineers pump water down to an area of hot solid rock, where it causes the rock to break up and become porous. The water then trickles through the rock fractures, heats up, and is drawn back through an uptake well to the surface, where its heat can be used to drive turbines and generate electricity.”
Can you hear the Earth humming??and it’s not just humming one note, it’s humming two, and scientists can’t figure out what’s causing it.
Scientists have identified the earth’s “vertical” hum for about 10 years, and think that it may be caused by deep waves on the ocean floor. Now researchers in Germany have discovered a second “horizontal” note, and nobody knows what’s causing this one either, but natural events like earthquakes, volcanoes and storms make it louder.
In New Scientist, Catherine Brahic reports that geologist Rudolf Widmer-Schnidrig thinks that “the frequency of the new signal suggests something is ‘twisting’ the surface of the crust in some way. When released, the crust swings back and forth because of its elasticity.”
But what is causing this “twisting” remains a mystery. Maybe when we tap the center of the earth for fuel?IF we have to?we’ll finally find out!
Meanwhile, over 9,000 tourists a day are flocking to view the spectacular eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.
Art credit: gimp-savvy.com
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