The breath of our Earth

The breath of our Earth

by Handriyanti Diah Puspitarini, University of Padova, Italy, Padova, Italy

This picture was taken in Myvatn geothermal area. Seeing the steam vent of geothermal in this area while the temperature was -22 degree Celsius is the best experience in Myvatn. The difference of ambient temperature and the heat temperature from inside the Earth is really stunning event to see.

Iceland is situated in the middle of two tectonic plates (Eurasian and North America tectonic plates) that give more than hundred active and inactive volcanoes in this country. High activity of volcano and the depth of the magma, which is near the surface, triggers the high production of geothermal in Iceland. You can easily find other thermal bath in the southern and northern Iceland, besides Blue Lagoon. In addition, Icelandic use geothermal source as the main source of space and water heating and occupied more than 10% for electricity source. During winter, almost 100% space and water heating comes from geothermal energy and almost all the main roads in Reykjavik are feed by this energy source. Because of that, Iceland is well-known as the world leading green and sustainable country in the world.

How geothermal energy can be produce? For the space and water heater source, the power plant uses the pipe called heat exchanger to convert the hot water inside the earth into the heat. It is then distributed within the steam pipe to the residential area. For the electricity source, the power plant captures the steam or hot water from the geothermal area to drive the electricity generator, which convert the heat into electricity. The power plant then distributes the electricity to the residential area. In short, the geothermal plant is able to produce both heat and electricity.

Featured on GeoLog, the official blog of the European Geosciences Union