Volcanoes can be used as sources of geothermal energy, power that is taken from the Earth’s internal heat beneath the surface of its crust. Iceland is one of the leading countries in the use of volcanoes as sources of energy, and an estimated 78% of the nation’s energy comes from volcanoes. Other countries that use volcanoes as sources of energy include the United States — particularly the state of Hawaii — and Indonesia. The geothermal energy produced from tapping into volcanoes is thought to be more environmentally friendly than other energy sources, such as fossil fuels, because it emits one-sixth as much carbon dioxide and is estimated to be 80% less expensive. Possible drawbacks of volcanic energy include the fluids it produces, which could have toxic materials, as well as the production of hydrogen sulfide, a gas that has the stench of rotten eggs.
More about volcanoes:
- The largest volcano known to exist is Olympus Mons, which is located on the Mars and is about 16 miles (25.75 km) tall.
- Indonesia has more volcanoes than any other country — about 130 active — and is estimated to produce about 40% of the global resources used for geothermal energy.
- There are thought to be 1,900 active volcanoes worldwide.