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37 votes
Accepted

Why is geothermal heat insignificant to surface temperature?

One kilometer of rock is actually a lot to dig through to get to that very warm condition. The key quantity here is heat flux. The crux of the matter is: Geothermal heat flux is only a small fraction ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 3,926
34 votes
Accepted

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

Quoting from John Russell's response to this article, "This is arrant nonsense!" Russell concludes with How did this paper get through the peer-review and editorial review processes? What ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 23.7k
20 votes

Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

By way of example, the Habanero geothermal pilot plant was investigated in Australia from 2003 to 2013. It as a 1 MW plant in the Cooper Basin, in the central region of Australia. The heat source rock,...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k
17 votes

Why is the temperature between the earth core and surface not distributed linearly?

The temperature does indeed increase with depth, something that is a problem in deep mines or deep drilling, but a benefit for geotermal heating. The heat originates mostly from radioactive decay, but ...
user2821's user avatar
  • 5,946
16 votes

Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

We certainly couldn't replace all of the world's energy consumption with geothermal; there literally isn't enough energy coming out of the Earth. The mean thermal energy flow through continental ...
Michael Seifert's user avatar
15 votes

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

What neither the authors nor the response by John Russell takes into account is that all underground oil and gas is stored inside tiny pores of rocks. An oil reservoir is not a big underground cave, ...
semi-extrinsic's user avatar
14 votes

Does Earth's magnetic field arise from a fission reactor in its core?

The conventional explanation for the Earth's magnetic field is that some combination of differential rotation and/or convection occurs in the Earth's outer core, primarily in molten iron-nickel (+ ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

At what depth does the underground begin to warm up?

Your question has an incorrect assumption built in. Near surface ground water temperatures are not generally colder, but rather reflect the average annual temperature. This will be colder than ...
Sherwood Botsford's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

What is the current equilibrium surface temperature of Earth, i.e. without the sun?

Assuming a thermodynamic equilibrium between heat from below and heat escaping into outer space, and assuming an energy from below of 44 to 47 terawatts (the Earth's current internal heat budget), ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 23.7k
8 votes
Accepted

Why is the deep sea cold?

The simple answer to this question is that cold seawater is denser than warm seawater, so it sinks and fills up the abyssal ocean. The water that fills up the abyssal ocean comes from the polar ...
Ed Doddridge's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Did the Geothermal Power Plant contribute to Pahoa's Lava Fissures?

Original answer I think we can confidently enough answer "no". From the report "Eruptions of Hawaiian Volcanoes—Past, Present, and Future" (Tilling et al. 2010): Kilauea eruptions ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
7 votes

What is the average temperature of the whole planet Earth, not just the surface?

TL;DR: Approximately $2700\,\text K$ ($2400\text{°C}$, $4400\text{°F}$) Assuming that the weights are indeed the heat capacity per unit volume $C$ and that $C \approx \rho C_P$, where $\rho$ is the ...
Wood's user avatar
  • 241
5 votes

Using heat at depth to generate power

This form of geothermal energy was investigated in Australia in the early 2000s. A company, then called Geodynamics Australia but since renamed as ReNu Energy, constructed a geothermal power plant ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k
5 votes
Accepted

If the Sun disappeared, how long would it take for the Earth to freeze beyond excavatable depths?

Step wise approach: Right now when the surface is very cold, the frost depth here (Alberta, -40 min winter temps) can reach 8 feet. Below about 30 feet seasonal temperature changes are under a ...
Sherwood Botsford's user avatar
5 votes

At what depth does the underground begin to warm up?

The temperature would stabilize to a steady temperature when you go down 15 ft or so. The point where it gets significantly warmer is probably much deeper than you want to go. A better system ...
Orgorg's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes

Why is ground water rising on these forest rings?

Nobody knows - yet. But one can say that these rings are too numerous and too regular in shape to be related to either kimberlites or (even more bizarrely) Oklo-type natural nuclear reactors, as some ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
5 votes

Does the geothermal activity influence the climate in Iceland?

Since micro climates of a location are mostly based on temperature and precipitation patterns, I would suggest that yes, if focusing on precipitation alone, one would expect rising heat from ...
J. Kaciulis's user avatar
5 votes

How does the subsurface earth temperature vary around the world?

The subsurface temperature will vary due to the soil type: sand, clay, loam, silt and the degree of saturation of the soil, soil thickness, the thermal conductivity of the soil, the surface ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k
5 votes
Accepted

What determines rock temperature inside mountains?

You are on track to answering this yourself. Temperature is a continuous field, so near any surface it has to follow the boundary conditions, with the effect of any surface topography decaying away ...
David Bailey's user avatar
  • 1,017
4 votes
Accepted

Canadian equivalent to AMLIS database?

Try: Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory as well as Crown Contaminated Sites Database (British Columbia) Orphaned/Abandoned Mine Site Rehabilitation (Manitoba) Abandoned Mines Information System-...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 5,962
4 votes

Does the geothermal activity influence the climate in Iceland?

You have already hit on the reason Iceland has such a mild climate: the Gulf Stream. Geothermal heat does not measurably affect the Icelandic climate unless you make your measurements very close ...
Michael Walsby's user avatar
4 votes

Source of heat in the center of Earth

depths of our planet How deep? "Deep" is a relative thing. You can have 10 kilometres deep, or 5000 kilometres deep. Super high pressure at the center of it It's not the pressure per se ...
Gimelist's user avatar
  • 23.1k
4 votes

Geothermal instead of fossil and nuclear?

Asking whether we can replace the major energy sources we are using today today with one single source is a flawed question. It is obvious that there is not one single solution and anything that can ...
FluidCode's user avatar
  • 231
3 votes

If the Sun disappeared, how long would it take for the Earth to freeze beyond excavatable depths?

Assuming the earth to be a perfect blackbody, the radiated power is given by: $\rm{P = A \cdot \sigma \cdot T^4}$ where T is the blackbody temperature and sigma is the Stefan Boltzman constant. If the ...
hurreechunder's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Would the subsurface event leading to tree death at West Tern Lake in Yellowstone be visible in thermal imaging?

If it’s hot enough to alter the groundwater chemistry that is killing the trees, then you would see it in satellite thermal imaging. Remember, tree roots only go down about 20 to 30 feet at the most, ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 176
3 votes

Do fossil fuels insulate the crust from the Earth's interior?

I honestly wish I could come up with a better answer for this question but the original article is so horrible I'm not sure where to even begin responding to it. For starters, it's published in a ...
Braeden Orchard's user avatar
3 votes

Why is my pond / lake melting when the temperature is still far below freezing?

My guess is that since ice (and the liquid water underneath it) is much better at absorbing thermal radiation than air, then even if the air temperature is below zero, the ice can heat up in the sun ...
bon's user avatar
  • 2,211
3 votes

Why does it feel hotter at night?

A physical explanation makes no sense at all as we know the temperature continues to fall. In addition, all the surfaces that emit IR at night also do during the day, as IR radiation is just a ...
Peter Higgins's user avatar
3 votes

Why does it feel hotter at night?

Could the answer be that the temperature falls at night compared to what it was during the day? It is unlikely to stay the same temperature during the day and night on a regular basis. The drop of ...
Mehmet Karatay's user avatar
3 votes

Geothermal gradient near surface?

The trouble with geothermal gradients is they are not the same everywhere. It is generally accepted that the geothermal gradient is 25-30 °C/km but there can be local variations. In South Australia ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k

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