Consumer Energy Report is now Energy Trends Insider -- Read More »

By Jacob Cohen-Donnelly on Sep 13, 2009 with 3 responses

German Geothermal Plant Could be Cause for Earthquakes

The earth could provide a tremendous amount of energy.

The earth could provide a tremendous amount of energy.

Landau in der Pfalz, a small city in Germany, is currently undergoing government inspections about earthquakes potentially caused by a geothermal plant built by Geox, a German energy company. German scientists suggest that the earthquake that happened in mid-August was a direct result of the geothermal plant.

Geox extracts heat from deep within the Earth by digging nearly two miles with a drill. This results in a high amount of energy that can greatly reduce the amount of fossil fuels used. This reduction, according to advocates of geothermal energy, could have a significant impact on the world’s demand for fossil fuels.

The plant in Laundau is not the first case of earthquakes being brought on by the deep digging. In California, a state desperate to find new renewable energies, a geothermal plant is under great scrutiny for safety. California is known for its earthquakes and further addition to that could cause more damage than reward from the geothermal plant. In Basel, Switzerland, a geothermal plant was closed down after it was determined to be the cause of two earthquakes in 2006 and 2007. The government there is still trying to determine whether or not it is safe to open the plant.

“My concern is that the project leaders for different geothermal projects are about to waste public confidence as long as they don’t talk openly about the seismic risks involved in their projects,” said Rudolf Braun, the head of the Basel inquiry, to the New York Times.

Scientists from the government as well as the geological survey have concluded that the earthquake was brought on by the plant. More importantly, they note that there were four other minor earthquakes caused by the project that were not felt by the people in the area. Despite this information, Geox is neither denying or confirming that their plant was responsible for the earthquakes.

Some people could care less, though. “It’s really not such a big deal. Gas has its own set of risks,” Volker Weisenburger told the New York Times. They are proponents of the plant. Since its creation in 2007, the plant has raised production to the ability of providing electricity to 6,000 homes. That same amount of energy provided by a coal plant would have released 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The government is still trying to determine if the plant is safe enough for the area. By digging two miles deep to pull up the heat, it provides for tremendous energy results, but scientists suggest it also causes seismic problems.

  1. By Scientist, g.ponmudi, on September 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    How could the water which seeped inside produce an earthquake?

    Earthquake is caused due to the movement of the land is a myth. The most important thing that is missing in this view is that there is no explanation for why earthquake occurs in the centre of the land instead of the peripheral area.
    Actually the land is rising in different places. This is the reason why earthquakes occur only in the central parts of the land.
    To be specific, after an earthquake occurred on September 30th of 1993, in the village named Killari, it was found that the land had risen about three feet in height.
    This shows that the rise of the land is the cause of the earthquake.
    Earthquake is the effect of the rise of the land
    On September 30th 1993, the earthquake that hit the village, killari, situated in central part of India resulted in the death of more than eight thousand people and raised the land surface about three feet high.
    This elevation was seen in an area of around two kilometers.
    Why did the earthquake occur?
    The quake occurred only in killari, situated in central India and left two kilometers of land area raised. This proves that the earthquake occurred only due to the rise of the land.
    Apart from this, the pictures taken by the satellite before the quake showed that the temperature of killari had also risen and the pictures taken after the quake showed it to be normal.
    After the earthquake occurred, on the borders of Andhra and Karnataka white colored smoke emitted from the ground.
    Why did the land rise? Why was the temperature more? Why did the land emit white colored smoke?
    We know that the molten rock material called magma is found inside the earth as we have seen it coming out through volcanoes.
    In the same way, when the molten rock, lava flows on the earth’s surface, we can see the condensed steam and other gases in the form of white colored smoke.
    As the water and other hot gases are eliminated as steam, the molten rock cools down and turned in to rock.
    In the same way when the molten rock inside the earth starts cooling, water and
    Other hot gases come out in the form of white smoke. Due to this, the temperature of the land rises.
    Moreover when the molten rock cools and as the water and hot gases get released, the rocky plates that are formed are of less thickness.
    For example: water has a higher density and the ice cubes formed from it have a lower density and float on water.
    Likewise, the molten rock material which has a higher density produces rocky plates which have a lower density and move above the level of the molten rock.
    In the same way, when new plates are produced by the molten rock material, they start moving upwards there by pushing the plates which were already formed. On account of this movement, the edges of the plates rub against each other thereby causing earthquakes.
    For example, in 1356 an earthquake occurred in the city Basel in Switzerland which is situated in central Europe .
    In the same city, an organization which produces electricity using the heat from underground, drilled two holes of five meters each on the earth in the year 2006.
    The project was to send cold water through the first hole which would be changed into steam using the heat of the molten rock and pushed out through the second hole and by rotating dynamos; this would be converted into electricity.
    But, on the eighth day after the water was sent inside the earth, in the same place, the Richter scale recorded an earthquake with an intensity of 3.4.
    Even if atom bombs are tested underground, earthquakes do not occur. How could the water which seeped inside produce an earthquake?
    This clearly shows that the water which seeped inside the earth cooled the molten rock which in turn formed new plates that rose up and caused the earthquake.
    Yours faithfully,
    Scientist, g.ponmudi,
    chennai

    [link]      
  2. By Meg on November 12, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Water pushed down under the earth can caused earthquakes because it loosens the fault lines and gets into the cracks. As soon as the water drains further or moves at all the plates push together in various ways. You can witness the same thing in a cup of water with ice. As soon as you drain the water, the ice crashes together.

    [link]      
  3. By smitty on June 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    i’ve long thought that oil and natural gas deposits are there for a purpose..like a shock absorber for the earth…like amniotic fluid is for an embryo. By removing the oil and gas we are creating “empty” spaces or pockets…then there occurs movement of the earth’s crust a dropping of the top layers down into the empty pockets…and what about sinkholes?

    [link]      
Register or log in now to save your comments and get priority moderation!