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As the price of oil and natural gas climbs, and as carbon-loading of the Earth's atmosphere triggers global warming, Americas interest in renewable, environmentally-friendly, alternate energy sources - solar, tidal, wind, biofuels and geothermal - waxes.

Geothermal:
Pertaining to the heat of the interior of the Earth.

Geothermal Energy:
Energy extracted from the Earth's internal heat.

Source: Dictionary of Geological Terms, 3rd edtn., eds.:
R.L. Bates & J.A. Jackson

Situated in the tectonically-active, desert southwest, Arizona is particularly well-suited for development of solar, wind, and geothermal energy resources. Arizona is home to at least 60 hot springs, a surface manifestation of shallow geothermal resources (source: National Geophysical Data Center, Arizona).

The map to the right shows the location and temperature of Arizona's hot springs, regions of known or potential geothermal resources, wells with elevated water temperatures, thermal resorts, and aquaculture plants and illustrates the State's strong potential for geothermal energy production.

AZGS's Leadership Role at the State and National Level

Since the 1970s, AZGS has evaluated and characterized numerous potential geothermal hot spots throughout central and southern Arizona. That effort yielded several dozen reports, well-hole data, and maps assessing the potential for geothermal energy. Derivative products include geothermal development plans for most of Arizona's counties.

PDF copies of the AZGS reports are listed below by serial -Open-File Reports and Contributed Reports - and in chronological order. Our most recent publication involves a rigorous evaluation of the potential of the Clifton Hot Springs area in Greenlee County contributed by David Brown in 2007.

At the national level, AZGS is spearheading a coalition of about 45 state geological surveys to populate a new National Geothermal Data System with state-specific geothermal data. In October 2009, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded, AZGS acting on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists - 17.8 million dollars over 3 years to lead this effort.

Compiling state-specific geothermal data in an integrated distributed and searchable data system should drive renewed efforts to identify, assess and exploit geothermal energy resources across America. This national collaboration of State and Federal agencies, universities and energy consortiums has the potential to reshape Americas energy landscape, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and leverage non-renewable petroleum resources well into the 21st Century.

 

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