Definition of geothermal
- geothermal steam
- geothermal regions
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Geothermal comes partly from the Greek thermos, "hot". Most geothermal electricity is provided by power plants situated in areas where there is significant activity of the Earth's great tectonic plates—often the same areas where volcanoes are found. But hot water from deep underground may be used by cities far from volcanoes to heat buildings or sidewalks. And a newer source of geothermal energy relies on a less dramatic kind of heat: Individual homeowners can now install heat pumps that take advantage of the 50°-60° temperature of the soil near the surface to provide heating in cold weather (and air-conditioning in the warm months). These very small-scale geothermal systems may eventually supply more useful energy than the large power plants.
: of, relating to, or using the natural heat produced inside the Earth; also : produced by such heat
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