News Brief

New Geothermal Hotspots Identified Throughout Eastern U.S.

The eastern two-thirds of the U.S. has greater geothermal potential than some areas in the western portion of the country, claims a new study by and Southern Methodist University (SMU).

The project estimates that the technical potential for the continental U.S. exceeds 2.9 million megawatts—ten times the capacity of all of the currently operating U.S. coal-fired power plants. Drawing on tens of thousands of new thermal data points, the study takes into account newer technologies and drilling methods and eliminates inaccessible zones such as national parks, large urban areas, and protected lands.


This Geyserville, California, facility, like most geothermal power plants in the U.S., is located in the tectonically active West. New research suggests that the eastern U.S. may have more geothermal potential than previously believed.

SMU identifies areas of the Appalachians, parts of South Dakota, northern Illinois, the Gulf Coast, and southeastern Colorado as places of “particular geothermal interest.” Conventional U.S. geothermal production has been restricted to tectonically active locations in the western third of the country.





Published November 29, 2011

Navaro, R. (2011, November 29). New Geothermal Hotspots Identified Throughout Eastern U.S.. Retrieved from

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