Can we use the heat from Yellowstone for energy?
Geothermal energy (heat energy from the Earth's interior), is used to generate electricity in a variety of places throughout the world. Although Yellowstone and its surroundings are a significant geothermal resource, the Park itself is off limits to development. Because geothermal developments often cause a decrease in flow of nearby hot springs and other geothermal features (like geysers), it is questionable whether anyone could get permission to develop geothermal energy in the region outside the park.
There are other natural heat sources in the United States that are being used for geothermal energy. In California, about 4-5 GW of electricity is generated at power plants at The Geysers, Salton Sea, Coso, Casa Diablo, and other geothermal systems. This is enough to provide energy for several million people. There are also geothermal power plants in Nevada, Utah, and Hawaii.
Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?
A newly published scientific report on the geology and hydrology in the area around Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park includes suggestions on how to avoid harming the unique hydrothermal (hot water) features during maintenance of nearby park roads, utilities, and historic buildings.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. -- A new sensor network installed in Yellowstone National Park this summer will provide scientists and the public near “real-time” data on what’s happening in one of the nation’s most active geyser basins.
New research suggests that how often Old Faithful and other Yellowstone geysers erupt may depend on annual rainfall patterns.
Old Faithful Geyser erupts on a clear winter day in Yellowstone National Park
Great Fountain Geyser erupting in Yellowstone National Park on a clear day.
Riverside Geyser in Yellowstone National Park
eruption of Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone National Park
Public Lecture on Yellowstone Volcano by Jake Lowenstern at Menlo Park, CA on January 23, 2014. The Q&A at the end of the talk can be found on the original source video (Source URL).
A geothermal power plant at The Geysers near Santa Rosa, California. The USGS researches and assesses geothermal resources.
USGS Scientist-in-Charge of Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, Jake Lowenstern, answers
the following questions to explain volcanic features at Yellowstone: "How do we know Yellowstone is a
volcano?", "What is a Supervolcano?", "What is a Caldera?","Why are there geysers at Yellowstone?",
and "What are the other geologic hazards in Yellowstone?"
View Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this video.
Aerial view of Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
USGS scientist Dr. David P. Krabbenhoft sampling Ear Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, for dissolved mercury species. Old Faithful is erupting in the background.