Science: Roles for Fumaroies

Anyone watching a geyser, hot spring or fumarole (volcanic steam jet) in the U.S. West may well wonder why the earth's hot interior is not used as a source of energy, in the manner of volcanic steam power plants in central Italy. Last week Pacific Gas & Electric Co. of California announced that it has struck a deal to make electricity out of underground steam produced jointly by Magma Power Co. of Los Angeles and Thermal Power Co. of San Francisco.

The site of the earth-power plant will be a hot spot near Healdsburg, 60...

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