Wednesday, August 8, 2018

USA, Wyoming: National Geographic Asks Whether Yellowstone Geothermal Should be a Source of Energy

Yellowstone Supervolcano Could Be an Energy Source. But Should It? (National Geographic)

The national park could power the entire continental U.S. with clean energy. Here’s why it remains untapped.

Geyser in Yellowstone National Park
Ian Crawford, 2015.
The northwest corner of Wyoming is boiling. There, 10,000 hydrothermal features transform Yellowstone National Park into an alien world with searing waters and steaming vents—all fueled by a simmering supervolcano.

So in 2017, NASA scientists ran a thought experiment to see if they might be able to halt a future supereruption. The internal study led by Brian Wilcox, an engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, suggested drilling a series of wells around the perimeter of the park and pumping cold water down into the hot rock. The hypothetical solution would cool down Yellowstone’s magma chamber and prevent calamity.

As a bonus, the system would provide enough geothermal energy to power the entire country.

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