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Salton Sea - Geothermal Studies

 

Last updated 2/23/2016 at 9:33am

Scientists have been looking into the connection between geothermal power and earthquakes through studies conducted by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The study covers the issue extensively by monitoring a series of quakes in the Salton Sea, where several geothermal plants are located.

Santa Cruz Professor Emily Brodsky said her research concluded in that case that "'seismicity' increased as the operations expanded," at the nearby plants, with the strongest quake recorded at 5.1.

UNR seismologist Dr. Graham Kent says the connection makes sense, given that harvesting geothermal power involves pulling hot water out of the ground and returning cool water back into the earth.

"In the process of cooling the rock and heating the water, you're changing the state of stress," he said.

As companies look for ways to harvest more natural resources, scientists will continue to monitor future change in underground pressure during the process of harvesting geothermal power.

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