Two Major Geothermal Projects Abandoned Due to Induced Quake Risk

Two high-profile geothermal projects in the U.S. and Europe were both permanently halted late last week, after federal officials in both countries questioned their safety and propensity to cause earthquakes. Projects in Basel, Switzerland, and in northern California were both abandoned, raising questions about the danger of purposefully cracking open the Earth to extract its heat.

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Will Drilling Into a Volcano Trigger an Eruption That Destroys Naples?

Scientific research has helped humankind avoid or mitigate many of nature’s best attempts to send us to a violent end, but what do researchers do when the pursuit of research could trigger the very disaster from which science is trying to protect us? That’s the question facing geologists in Naples, Italy that will begin sinking seven four-kilometer bore holes into the Campi Flegrei caldera, the site of a “supercolossal” volcanic eruption 39,000 years ago.

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New Technology Could Drill Deeper Into the Earth Than Ever Before

An adaptation of oil drills for deep water could bring scientists closer to the goal of drilling all the way through the earth's crust to the wonders beneath

In 2005, we came the closest we ever had before to drilling into the mantle: the layer beneath the Earth's crust. Now, with new drilling technology adapted from the oil and gas industry, scientists might finally be ready to reach that holy grail of depth.

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Jets of 7200°F Hydrogen Cut Through Granite at 100 Feet per Hour

Tired of wearing out diamond bits when you're drilling miles deep into the earth's crust? Try using a high-velocity flame jet instead

Inspired by designs created by his father decades ago, Jared Potter is building an arsenal of ultra-powerful flame-jet drills. As seen in the NatGeo video above, one prototype directs a jet of burning hydrogen at 3200°F against a slab of solid granite.

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Searching for Antarctic Microbes with Antifreeze and Bombs

A new scientific project joins the race to explore lakes under Antarctic ice

Ice Capades: Scientists use explosives to generate seismic maps of Antarctica's Lake Ellsworth  Neil Ross/University of Edinburgh

This winter, Russian scientists will resume drilling into what may be the most pristine environment in the world: Lake Vostok, an unfrozen body of freshwater the size of Lake Ontario cut off from the world for millennia beneath two miles of Antarctic ice. The sediment on the lakebed could hold clues to past climate changes, and the waters could be teeming with new forms of life — but the slightest mistake could spoil the lake for good.

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