WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – When researchers in New Zealand drilled deep into an earthquake fault, they stumbled upon a discovery they say could provide a significant new energy source for the South Pacific nation.
The scientists found that the water in the Alpine Fault was much hotter than expected.
It could potentially be harnessed to generate electricity or provide direct heating to industries like dairy farming.
The finding was surprising because geothermal energy is usually associated with volcanic activity.
But there are no volcanoes where the scientists drilled. Because the Alpine Fault stretches for hundreds of kilometers (miles) like a spine along the country’s South Island, the energy source could be enormous.
The study led by Victoria University of Wellington professor Rupert Sutherland was published Thursday in the journal Nature.
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