Geothermal Energy Essay

4754 Words20 Pages
Geothermal Energy The human population is currently using up its fossil fuel supplies at staggering rates. Before long we will be forced to turn somewhere else for energy. There are many possibilities such as hydroelectric energy, nuclear energy, wind energy, solar energy and geothermal energy to name a few. Each one of these choices has its pros and cons. Hydroelectric power tends to upset the ecosystems in rivers and lakes. It affects the fish and wild life population. Nuclear energy is a very controversial subject. Although it produces high quantities of power with relative efficiency, it is very hard to dispose of the waste. While wind and solar power have no waste products, they require enormous amounts of land…show more content…
The continental crust consists of igneous and sedimentary rocks. The oceanic crust consists of the same with a substantial layer of sediments above the rock. The crust covers the outer ridged layer of the earth called the lithosphere. The lithosphere is divided into seven main continental plates. These continental plates are constantly moving on a viscous base. The viscosity of this base is a function of the temperature. The study of shifting continental plates is called Plate Tectonics. Plate Tectonics allows scientists to locate regions of geothermal heat emission. Shifting continental plates cause weak spots or gaps between plates where geothermal heat is more likely to seep through the crust. These gaps are called Subduction Zones. Heat emission from subduction zones can take many forms, such as volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. When lateral plate movement induced gaps occur between plates, collisions occur between other plates. This results in partial plate destruction. This causes mass amounts of heat to be produced due to frictional forces and the rise of magma from the mantle through propagating lithosphere fractures and thermal plumes sometimes resulting in volcanism. During plate movement, continental plates are constantly being consumed and produced changing plate boundaries. When collisions between plates occur, the crust is pushed up sometimes forming ranges of mountains. This is the way that most
Open Document