How is geothermal energy obtained?

1 Answer
Jan 7, 2018
  1. Heat cold water from the heat released from geothermal activity.
  2. Hot water rises.
  3. Moves turbine which powers generator
  4. Water cools, falls back down pipe.


In areas around the world (notably Iceland) where geothermal activity is common due to the (less than 10 km) thinner crust, people can use the thermal energy transferred to the rock from the magma, to heat water which can be used and most notably in generating power.

Energy is generated by having pipes, with cold water in them, go down into the Earth below, to where the rock is at a favourable temperature.
These surrounding rocks heat the water, and causes it to expand and rise, often turning it into steam.
This is then used to move a turbine, connected to a generator, to generator power for use, often in the local area.
The heated water is then either used to heat local homes and be used in local homes, or is either cooled/recycled and the process starts again.


  • Renewable
  • Virtually no byproduct release
  • Small carbon foot print
  • Regular advancements in technology, leading to more efficient generators which use less materials
  • Takes up little space on land, can be built partially in the ground also


  • Small chance of causing earthquakes
  • Only works if there is geothermal activity, sometimes geothermal activity can reduce or end
  • As with any subterranean endeavour, there is often some harmful substance found (e.g. radioactive) which needs to be dealt with
  • Expensive

Hopes this helps.