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Published January 20, 2017 09:55 AM

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.

In Iceland, heat is extracted for use in power plants directly from the ground in volcanic areas. Constructing a geothermal power station near a volcano can be beneficial, since Earth’s mantle is located relatively close to the crust in those areas, making the heat easily accessible. This means that the boreholes do not need to be very deep and the pipes to the power plant can be short.

But placing a power plant near an active volcano is not without risk, as an eruption can easily destroy any man-made construction in its way.

The scientists have now studied three different parts of the divergent ridge (area where the ocean plates are slowly sliding away from each other) that crosses Iceland from southwest to northeast. The slow movement and separation of the ocean plates can cause cracks in Earth’s crust, through which hot magma from the planet’s interior rises to the surface. As a result, a large number of volcanos have emerged along the divergent boundary.

‘The study includes data with extremely high precision. Data from 1967 to the present, together with the very best modelling software, have yielded the best picture to date of the anatomy of the divergent boundary,’ says Md. Tariqul Islam, lead author of the article, which has been published in Journal of Geophysical Research.

Continue reading at University of Gothenburg

Photo Credit: University of Gothenburg

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