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for people who care about the West

Hot and beautiful

  Clean energy can emerge from deep beneath the earth's surface, but will it interfere with the natural beauty of the volcanoes, hot springs and geysers that make it possible? That's a question asked in Tapping the Earth's Natural Heat, a 63-page report produced by Wendell Duffield for the U.S. Geological Survey. Compared to other sources of energy, Duffield says, geothermal powerplants are clean and reliable, remaining on line about 95 percent of the time. They also scar the landscape only minimally, and unlike other natural resources, can be used even if available only in small quantities. The nagging question, though, is whether the impacts of tapping the earth, impacts which range from hydrogen sulfide emissions to changes in distant geothermal features, are tolerable. To obtain the free full-color booklet, now in its third printing, write USGS Map Distribution, Box 25286, MS 306, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225.


*Taffeta Elliott