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Volcano Power

Volcano Power

Credit: Robert Simmon, NASA
Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=43252
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Iceland is about as volcanically active as a place can be with a mid-ocean ridge spreading apart above water, boosted by a hotspot plume. Although geothermal power is used in Iceland, what if volcano power could be harnessed more directly?

Amazing But True!

Credit: Yomangani
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Borehole.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Geothermal power plants provide about one-third of the power used in Iceland [Figure2]

  • Iceland sits above a hotspot that lies astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The island is a very geologically and volcanically active place.
  • In Iceland, about 30% of the power is geothermal. They drill into hot rock, not magma.
  • A volcano power plant hasn’t been created yet, but it could be a tremendous source of power.

Show What You Know

With the link below, learn more about geothermal power in Iceland. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why is there so much liquefied rock so close to the surface in Iceland?
  2. How does an ordinary geothermal power planet produce electricity?
  3. What are the advantages of collecting geothermal power from a magma chamber?
  4. What are the problems with collecting geothermal power from a magma chamber?
  5. Iceland is unique in having magma chambers so close to the surface. Where in the United States might this technology be useful if it is developed?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Robert Simmon, NASA; Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=43252; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Yomangani; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Borehole.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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