What is geothermal energy? Anybody can figure that out by looking at the word. Geo means earth and therme means heat. Geothermal energy is heat from within the earth and started to form about 4.5 billion years ago. There are four layers of the earth: the mantle, the crust and the outer and inner core. Geothermal energy is generated in the earth almost 4,000 miles beneath the surface and is formed in the core of the earth. The amount of energy within the earth is 50,000 times as much energy as there is left in fossil fuels. Geothermal energy is usually in the form of steam or geothermal water (water heated by earth) and exits the earth in the form of steam, hot water or sometimes as lava when a volcano erupts.

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Geothermal energy is found inside of the earth. We live on the surface of the crust.

Geothermal energy forms in between the tectonic plates in the earth. This area is where most volcanoes are. Volcanoes produce geothermal energy. Most geothermal energy comes from hot springs and only sometimes comes from volcanoes because of the dangerous lava. Both volcanoes and hot springs form mainly around the tectonic plates.

The 14 tectonic plates (10 pictured)
The 14 tectonic plates (10 pictured)

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These are the 14 major tectonic plates. The Ring of Fire is something you will learn about on the location page. The Ring of Fire is found in the Indian Ocean. Notice how the red dots are mostly around the tectonic plates, the red dots represent geothermal energy, sources ranging from 1-10. Only a few dots are in the middle. Most dots are also around the Ring of Fire, named for its abundance of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy is called fire because it is hot and comes out in the form of lava.

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