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Geothermal springs in Himalayas release large amount of carbon dioxide: Study

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features.

Geothermal springs in Himalayas release large amount of carbon dioxide: Study:


Context:

Scientists of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) recently conducted a study on Geothermal springs in Himalayas.

Key observations and findings:

  1. Geothermal springs cover about 10,000 square kms in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
  2. The Himalayas host hundreds of geothermal springs and they release a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  3. 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.
  4. Most of the geothermal water is dominated by evaporation followed by weathering of silicate rocks.

What are hot/geothermal springs?

A hot spring is a spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust.

Science behind hot water:

  1. As we know, deeper we go down the earth hotter it gets and find magma (molten rock) at the outer core of the earth. This magma(8001300°C) is surrounded by different layers of the earth.
  2. If there is a crack or thrust fault in the layers of earth (one layer of the crust breaking and being thrust over another), tremendous amount of heat will be transferred from the magma to the surrounding rocks.
  3. Now, all that thermal energy will be transferred from the rocks along that thrust fault to the water present down there.
  4. As the temperature of the water increases, its density decreases which results in the rise of the hot water toward the surface along this thrust fault in the form of hot springs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are hot springs?
  2. Science behind hot springs.
  3. Examples of hot springs in India.
  4. Division of Himalayas.
  5. Overview of Garhwal region of Himalayas.

Mains Link:

What are the different non-conventional sources of energy? Do you think they have been adequately utilized in India? Critically examine.

Sources: pib.