St. Lucia looks at possibilities for geothermal energy

The Curacao Chronicle reports that the Ministry of Sustainable Development in St. Lucia recently completed the first leg of aerial and ground surveys that could lead to the local development of geothermal energy. These are the first in a series of five general surveys to be conducted on under-surface exploratory assistance provided by the Government of New Zealand. In New Zealand,  geothermal energy proved to be an excellent alternative for energy from wind or sun.

Experts from New Zealand and the United States carried out helicopter aeromagnetics surveys over the town of Soufriere over a two-day period, with the aim to detect faults in the earth’s surface that could provide conductivity for geothermal development.

Geophysicist John Seabert headed the helicopter surveys. He said the data collected is of high quality and will help to pinpoint specific areas for possible geothermal development. The data collected will be transferred to scientists in Denver, Colorado, for assessment and transmission to data maps that will detail the findings.

Concurrent with the aerial surveys, geochemical studies were undertaken in and around the town of Soufriere by a team of geoscientists. Samples of water, gas, rock and soil were collected for testing that will better inform the geothermal exploration process.

The results of the surveys are scheduled to be released in September. This first phase of the geothermal development project is funded by the Government of New Zealand at a cost of US $800,000. The experts will next take flight in June 2015 to conduct light detection and ranging
LiDAR surveys.

LiDAR is a method thatuses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the earth. These light pulses combined with other data recorded by the airborne system – generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the earth and its surface characteristics.

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