Example Of Research Paper On The Land Of Ice And Fire
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The country of Iceland, also called as the Land of Ice and Fire, has become one of the leading sources of geothermal energy in the world. For over the years, Iceland has become a primary contributor for geothermal power for the whole United States. Ironically, Iceland is being coined as the Land of Ice and Fire because of its numerous degree of volcanism that had brought sufficient amount of heat and power as means to harness geothermal energy from the ground. In addition, an article written by Ping Zhou on About.com entitled “Geothermal Energy in Iceland: Harnessing The Volcanic Power that Lies Under Iceland” mentioned that “Iceland's geothermal resources now provide an approximate 25% of its total electricity production and over 90% of its space heating”, a news which is surprisingly unexpected given the fact that Iceland is known for its extremely cold temperature all-throughout the season.
According to “The World Factbook: Europe – Iceland” of Central Intelligence Agency, Iceland is a favorite hotspot for severe volcanic activities brought about by its strategic location situated between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean as shown in Figure 1. Some of the active volcanoes that can be seen in this country include Grimsvoetin, Hekla, Askja, and lastly, the Eyjafjallaokull which erupted last 2010 and brought excessive amount of ashes in the atmosphere and destroying most of the European atmosphere due to air pollution. It has an estimated total land area of 103,000 km2 which consists mainly of mountain peaks, icefields, and ocean coasts.
Figure 1.Physical Map of Iceland.
Retrieved from http://www.ezilon.com/maps/europe/iceland-physical-maps.html
With abundant amount of heat coming from different sources of volcanic power, Iceland has become a pioneer in terms of the use of geothermal energy for space heating. According to the National Energy Authority, geothermal power in Iceland accounts for about 66 percent of the country’s energy use and consumption. Thus, geothermal energy coming from different volcanic activities could become the country’s leading source of heat and power generation in the future. As of the moment, development and innovations are being worked on to improve the production of geothermal power with volcanoes as one of their main reference source.
According to Zhou, geothermal power can be derived by acquiring the Earth’s natural internal heat source and convert it to generate energy. Most of this energy comes from solid rocks and magma deeply excavated under the Earth’s ground. Also, the steam and hot water collected from the ground can also be converted in the form of electric power.
Because of the strategic location of Iceland, geothermal energy source can be obtained through high-temperature fields. According to Zhou, high-temperature fields can be located near an active volcanic zone or marginal areas around them. Since Iceland lies in a Mid-Atlantic Ridge, it can be considered as a high-temperature field and most of the energy source coming from the Earth’s ground can be obtained from the Earth’s crust which has higher temperature as compared to that of the atmosphere.
For over the years, geothermal energy has played a significant role in the lives of the Icelanders. According to an article on Iceland Geothermal entitled “Geothermal Development”, geothermal power was first used during the start of the 20th century in various greenhouses found in the country. When crisis in oil production started midway the 20th century, the need to increase the conversion of geothermal energy bloomed, thereby utilizing the use of energy coming from the Earth’s ground. Since then, several geothermal power plants and geothermal heating utilities were founded to supply the demand for energy in the whole country. Most of the energy being harnessed from the Earth’s ground was being used and applied for space heating, swimming pools, different large and small-scale industries, ice and snow melting, and for greenhouse farming.
According to Zhou, harnessing of geothermal power from volcanic activities dated until late 1940s, when the energy from the Earth was used for domestic households like bathing, laundry, cooking, and water heating since the country has an extremely cold atmosphere. As several years’ progresses, the whole country experienced economic growth and turned the conversion of geothermal power into an investment and several capitalists, especially after the World War II, expanded the use of the heat and power from the ground to create different geothermal infrastructures and power plants for both domestic and industrial distribution. Since then, Iceland has become a consistent pioneer for geothermal energy source coming from the Earth’s power brought about by different volcanic activities that increases heat and power under the ground.
Iceland has always been one of the perfect destinations that cater breath-taking sceneries and outstanding cultural traditions. Because of its high latitude and a short growing season, Iceland has been known for its large packs of ice and extremely cold temperature. Thus, large amount of heat is needed by the people in order to survive the kind of climate that they have. This is where geothermal power coming from volcanic activities enters.
Iceland sits in the middle of Mid-Atlantic Ridge; thus, it is only natural that many volcanoes can be seen in the country. According to an article in Iceland.Is, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes have become the major events in the country at least once for every 5 years. Also, around one-third of the Earth’s total lava has been erupted in the country of Iceland (Iceland.Is). This is the main reason why Iceland has been termed as the land of Ice and Fire. There is an estimated over a hundred volcanoes that have become dormant, or those that have been erupted within the last few centuries. One of the most famous and active volcanoes in Iceland is Mount Hekla.
Mount Hekla has erupted around 18 times since the year 1104. Its latest volcanic activity was last 2000. According to Kristjan Agustsson, three phases of volcanic activities were observed in the eruption of Hekla volcano: first is the opening of the conduit (mouth of the volcano) to the surface; second is the continuous, yet slower conduit expansion; and lastly, an increase in volume when magma flows from the magma chamber under the volcano. Figure 2 shows the snow-filled cater from the 2000 eruption of Hekla volcano.
Figure 2. Snow-filled cater after the 2000 eruption of Hekla volcano.
Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ic.html
Other active volcanoes present in the country are Grimsvoetn, Kalta, Askja, and Krafla volcano. Based from the previous natural events that had occurred in Iceland for the past years, an endless supply of geothermal energy can be generalized as active volcanoes continuously perform various activities that increases heat and power coming from the Earth’s ground. As what had mentioned in an article in Iceland.Is, because of the country’s dominant source of renewable energy such as hydroelectric and geothermal energy source, Iceland has made itself known to become one of the least polluted countries in the world (Iceland.Is). Thus, the Land of Ice and Fire will continue to harness the Earth’s power to produce more energy that can sustain the Earth’s natural environment for another decade of years.
Agustsson, Kristjan. “A Volcanic Eruption in Hekla, February 26, 2000.” Icelandic Meteorological Office. February 28, 2000. Retrieved on March 05, 2015 from http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/englishweb/heklanews.html
“Geothermal.” Orkustofnun: National Energy Authority of Iceland. Retrieved on March 04, 2015 from http://www.nea.is/geothermal/
“Geothermal Development.”Iceland Geothermal. 2013. Retrieved on March 04, 2015 from http://www.icelandgeothermal.is/iceland-geothermal/geothermal-development/
“The World Factbook: Europe – Iceland.” Central Intelligence Agency. June 20, 2014. Retrieved on March 04, 2015 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ic.html
“Volcanoes.” Iceland.Is. Retrieved on March 05, 2015 from http://www.iceland.is/the-big-picture/nature-environment/volcanoes/
Zhou, Ping. “Geothermal Energy in Iceland: Harnessing The Volcanic Power that Lies Under Iceland.” Retrieved on March 04, 2015 from http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/fl/Geothermal-Energy-in-Iceland.htm
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