Borehole hits the jackpot

June 28, 2011

Hot water from Newcastle’s geothermal borehole finally gushed to the surface this morning.

During the early hours, the giant drill hit a source thousands of metres below the earth's at the Science City site.

This is a major breakthrough in the university’s quest to capture and the first deep excavation in the UK since the 1980s.

 The plan now is to pump the water back up to the surface so that it can heat local buildings.

Professor Paul Younger, Newcastle University, said: "This hot water could be available 24/7 because it doesn't depend on the weather. It is as cheap and as low carbon as it comes."

The drill also went through a coal seam at 660m that nobody knew existed and uncovered fossils thousands of years old, which point to a more tropical past.

Newcastle University geology student Laura Armstrong has been examining fossils that were discovered in a block of limestone over 1,000 metres below the ground.

"It is one of the most exciting things we've found,” she said. "These shells and corals suggest that Newcastle was once a tropical environment, like offshore Bahamas."

The next step is for scientists to run tests on the sandstone, which acts as a reservoir for the hot water.

Explore further: 1,000m underground central heating system planned

Related Stories

Boost to UK geothermal energy prospects

February 24, 2010

( -- Geothermal energy in the UK is a step closer to reality after exploratory drilling by experts at Newcastle University revealed record levels of permeability in granite.

Hot rocks fire up energy from the depths

June 23, 2010

( -- Scientists at Newcastle University have completed the first phase of a giant central heating system that will harness heat from deep underground.

Magma power for geothermal energy?

February 17, 2011

When a team of scientists drilling near an Icelandic volcano hit magma in 2009, they had to abandon their planned experiments on geothermal energy. But the mishap could point the way to an alternative source of geothermal ...

Deep heat for the North

February 23, 2011

Engineers at Newcastle University, UK, will today begin an ambitious project to drill 2,000m under the heart of the city in search of renewable energy. In a landmark project that will reach new depths in an attempt to harness ...

Recommended for you

Asteroid impact, volcanism were one-two punch for dinosaurs

October 1, 2015

Berkeley geologists have uncovered compelling evidence that an asteroid impact on Earth 66 million years ago accelerated the eruptions of volcanoes in India for hundreds of thousands of years, and that together these planet-wide ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 28, 2011
well, there is no excuse for the gordies not to wash now. free hot water, all they need iis free soap now ;>)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.