Forbes in its Oct. 26 online news has covered the geothermal energy research of SMU Hamilton Professor of Geophysics David Blackwell, Maria Richards and the SMU Geothermal Laboratory.

Blackwell and Richards, the Geothermal Lab coordinator, released a new map earlier this week that documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power — 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today.

Funded with a grant from, sophisticated mapping produced from the research demonstrates that vast reserves of this green, renewable source of power generated from the Earth’s heat are realistically accessible using current technology.

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By Alex Knapp

When people talk about alternative energy, they typically discuss the potential of wind and solar projects. Don’t get me wrong – there’s a vast potential in those technologies. But often left out of the discussion is the vast potential for geothermal energy – using the natural heat under the Earth’s surface to produce electricity. Harnessing that energy is one of the cleanest, sustainable ways to produce electricity, and it also has the benefit of being more space efficient than, say, a wind farm.

Of course, like any natural resource, the question becomes – where best to build geothermal plants? To answer that question, researchers at Southern Methodist University, funded by, compiled data from over 35,000 sites to build a complete picture of geothermal potential in the United States. Their findings? There is a vast potential for geothermal energy that can be tapped with technology existing today. You can check out the mapping for yourself on Google Earth by going here and downloading the info.

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