Term Paper: Geothermal Energy the Earth Formed

Pages: 3 (944 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Energy  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Aside from volcanic eruptions and plate tectonics, there is another way to witness and to use the thermal energy generated in the interior of our planet: geysers and hot springs. As aforementioned, magma rising towards the crust can heat natural water reservoirs. "Some of this hot geothermal water travels back up through faults and cracks and reaches the earth's surface as hot springs or geysers, but most of it stays deep underground, trapped in cracks and porous rock. This natural collection of hot water is called a geothermal reservoir." (Geothermal Education Office).

Humans have used this natural form of energy since before the dawn of civilization. The Romans used geothermal water for medical purposes, and for heating homes in some cities. American Indians, for perhaps as long as ten thousand years, have also made use of hot springs for medicine as well as for cooking (Geothermal Education Office).

Today, much more advanced and efficient techniques are employed to take advantage of this free form of energy. Geologists work to locate possible geothermal reservoirs, and then drill into them to release their steam. This rapid escape of steam can be used to turn turbine generators and transform what was once thermal energy into forms that can be much more useful and mobile -- like electricity. Presently, humans employ three different types of geothermal power plants: dry steam power plants, flash power plants, and binary power plants (Geothermal Education Office). The general difference between the three being the temperature of the water, and subsequently, the amount of steam that is generated.

There are many advantages to using geothermal rather than coal, oil, or nuclear generated energy. First, it is almost pollutant free. Second, by all human purposes, it is inexhaustible. Because of the convective nature of the earth's interior, our planet will continue to generate geothermal energy for billions of years to come. Other sources of energy like coal and oil are finite resources and will eventually run out. Third, Geothermal energy is quite reliable, and can be altered to the specific needs of a society. Finally, it requires less land area to build and maintain a geothermal power plant than any of the United State's other major sources of energy (Geothermal Education Office).

Unfortunately, geothermal energy cannot be trusted to supply all of the world's energy needs -- there are simply not enough geothermal reservoirs near the surface of the earth. However, some geologists are optimistic and believe that as drilling technology improves, humans will be able to reach enough geothermal reservoirs to accommodate a large percentage of the world's energy demands.


Gallant, Roy A. Geysers: When Earth Roars. New York: Franklin Watts, 1997.

Geothermal Energy Facts." Geothermal Education Office. December 23, 2000. Retrieved… [END OF PREVIEW]

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