Icelandic Adventure

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Peggy and I have recently returned from a wondrous trip to Iceland, an island nation of 350,000 people with two million annual visitors. We were awed by waterfalls, glaciers, volcanos, weird lava formations and glaciated created landscapes. It is a true island of fire and ice. In addition, the bird and marine life is fascinating as well as the sheep, cattle and Icelandic horses. However, the highlight to us was how the nation has put geothermal energy to use. Iceland is situated where the North American tectonic plate meets the Eurasian plate, which means the island is splitting apart about an inch yearly. This produces thermal fields, geysers, and hot springs. It is impressive that the people of Iceland have managed to take the challenging elements of their environment and change them into advantages like geothermal and hydroelectric power. They have engineered and built six geothermal plants throughout the island, which supply hot water to the residents, melt snow and ice during the winter, and supply heat and light to green houses where fresh produce is grown. There is one plant where a well was drilled into magma (molten basalt) which is used to generate super-heated steam that operates machinery producing 25 percent of their electricity. They are so energy rich that aluminum companies are building plants there since huge amounts of electricity are needed to produce this metal.

Iceland has invited engineers from all over the world to study their geothermal technology, and encourages other nations to follow suit. America can learn a lot from what Iceland has achieved in using its natural resources to combat global warming.

Blair Childs

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