1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Coso Geothermal Field, California


The Coso geothermal field is America's second-largest producer of geothermal electricity, with a continuous output of 270 megawatts. It relies on superheated groundwater that boils into steam at less than 2 kilometers depth, thus it is classified as a hot-water field. (The Geysers, world's largest geopower site in northern California, produces pure steam.)

Geothermal power has been produced at Coso since 1987 by a private contractor for the U.S. Navy, which acquired the land in 1943 as part of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. The power is sold into the local utility grid. The Navy's Geothermal Program Office is exploring other military bases for geothermal energy. This article from the Geothermal Resources Council has much more about the Coso program.

Click images number 3, 5, 7 and 11 to see larger versions.

Images 1-11 of 11
A steamy sightBoiling SpringWith topography and faultsLocation Map of the Coso RangeRocks of the regionGeologic Map of the Coso RangeA brooding presenceSugarloaf Mountain Rhyolite Dome
Product of skilled handsObsidian ToolsHot groundFumaroleHot and colorfulMudpotA hot and messy drillholeGeothermal Drilling
Old and new togetherSteam Pipes and MudpotsA clean industrySteam Production PipelinesShut down for maintenanceNavy Unit 1 Power Plant
Related Video
How to Make a California Roll
How to Make a California Roll
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Geology
  4. Mineral Resources
  5. Coso Geothermal Field, California

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.