Scientists discover new energy source in New Zealand

Scientists discover new energy source in New Zealand

A team of scientists drilled deep into an earthquake fault in New Zealand, and stumbled upon something that could provide a new source of energy for the South Pacific nation.

Led by Victoria University of Wellington’s Professor Rupert Sutherland, the scientists were surprised to find that water in the Alpine Fault was much hotter than their expectation. They concluded that it could be harnessed to generate electricity or to provide industries like dairy farming with direct heating.

The water found in the fault reached 100 degrees Celsius or 212 Fahrenheit in temperature at a depth of 2100 feet or 630 meters. As the Alpine Fault spans for hundreds of miles along the nation’s South Island, the potential source of energy could be enormous.

Lead researcher Prof. Sutherland said in a statement, “Economically, it could be very significant for New Zealand. It’s a totally new paradigm.”

The discovery was astonishing as geothermal energy is typically associated with volcanic activity, but no volcanoes have ever been drilled by the scientists.

The discovery of the potentially new energy source published in the Thursday (May 18th) edition of the journal Nature.

A report published by Tech Times informed, "The researchers arrived at two conclusions, which could explain the creation of the hot water found underneath the fault line. Researchers suggest that hot rocks may have gotten displaced during previous earthquakes and likely moved up into the mountain's fault, resulting in the hot water's formation."

Alpine Fault is one of the most active faults in the world that causes massive earthquakes once every 300 years. Sutherland and his team clearly specified that before industries decided to tap into this virgin energy source, scientists will need to explore, understand, and determine the amount and extent of hot water present in the area and the manner in which it can be harnessed.