Himalayan Geothermal Springs
A study conducted by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology has revealed that the Himalayas host hundreds of geothermal springs and release a huge amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
• Himalaya is tectonically active. It covers about 10,000 square kms in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Garhwal region is known for geothermal springs.
• The Himalayan geothermal springs which cover about 10,000 square km in the Garhwal region of Himalaya, show a significant discharge of Carbon dioxide (CO2) rich water.
• Geothermal springs: A hot spring is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust.
• Geothermal energy is heat derived within the sub-surface of the earth. Water and/or steam carry the geothermal energy to the Earth's surface. Depending on its characteristics, geothermal energy can be used for heating and cooling purposes or be harnessed to generate clean electricity.
Keyfindings of Study
o Geothermal springs cover around 10,000 square kms in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
o The Himalayas host hundreds of geothermal springs and they release a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
o CO2 in these thermal springs are sourced from metamorphic decarbonation of carbonate rocks present deep in the Himalayan core along with magmatism and oxidation of graphite.
o Most of the geothermal water is dominated by evaporation followed by weathering of silicate rocks.
o Carbon outflux from Earth’s interior to the exosphere through volcanic eruptions, fault zones, and geothermal systems contribute to the global carbon cycle that effects short- and long-term climate of the Earth.
Hot Water Springs in India
Thermal springs or hot water springs are formed due to geothermally heated water emerging onto the earth’s surface through cracks.This heat comes from deep inside the earth’s surface.
In north India, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana and western states such as Gujarat and Rajasthan contain multiple hot water springs.
In eastern India, West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya are the states that house thermal springs.
These hot water springs may contain different kinds of minerals. The most common mineral that is present in the thermal springs of India is Sulphur. India used to be a hotbed of active volcanoes millions of years ago.
India has a geothermal power potential of 10,000 MW or 10 GW.
Chief geothermal provinces in India include Himalayas, Naga-Lushai province, Sohana, West coast, Andaman-Nicobar Islands, Cambay, Son-Narmada-Tapi (SONATA), Godavari and Mahanadi valleys. Of all the locations, Puga valley in Ladakh is the most promising.
Geothermal energy is an inexhaustible source of energy and is available from earth crust. It is that renewable energy source which doesn't need any fuel to generate electricity, and the emissions connected with geothermal energy are very low and negligible compared to emissions that result from fossil fuels burning. Geothermal energy is gaining importance as alternate source of energy. There is dire need to expedite the harnessing technology in order to utilize the clean energy source.