While drilling into rock for use as a geothermal energy source, Icelandic scientists unexpectedly hit a bubble of magma (molten rock). A magma geothermal energy source, due to it’s heat would produce far more power than solid rock based geothermal energy sources available today. Geothermal energy is used in Iceland to deliver 30% of the country’s electricity supply.
Geothermal energy is produced by piping cold water into the hot rock found deep below the surface of the earth. This rock at temperatures between 100° and 300° centigrade turns the water into steam which is piped back up to ground level to drive electric power generation turbines. The hotter the rock, the more electricity is produced. Geothermal energy is clean because no fossil fuels are burned to release harmful gases into the environment.
In Iceland in 2009, scientists drilling for a geothermal energy source had reached 2.1 km below the surface when the drill broke through the rock and hit a large pocket of magma. Magma, which is super hot, molten, liquid rock can range from 600° up to 1300° centigrade. Drillers were surprised to find magma at 2.1 km deep since it is usually found much deeper at around the 6 km level. Scientists are carrying out further research into how to harness this immense store of magma geothermal energy which will someday generate more clean energy for our planet.