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EARTH PUTS OUT 40 TRILLION WATTS OF HEAT, GEOLOGIST SAYS

SHARE EARTH PUTS OUT 40 TRILLION WATTS OF HEAT, GEOLOGIST SAYS

A University of Michigan geologist reported Monday that scientists have for the first time accurately measured how much heat the earth puts out - 40 trillion watts.

While heat output from the planet's crust - an amount approaching one-5,000th of the total energy the earth receives from the sun - is still going strong after 4.5 billion years, one researcher said a thermal effect with a different cause, the greenhouse effect, may be showing up in temperature measurements just beneath the earth's surface.Henry Pollack, a professor at Michigan, based his estimate of global heat loss on a comprehensive data base of 22,000 measurements of the earth's conductive heat flow taken by scientists around the world from 1939 to 1989.

Pollack and Michigan students Jeffrey Johnson and Suzanne Hurter assembled the data base, which he said was the most extensive and up-to-date collection of geothermal heat loss data currently available.

Pollack presented his findings at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

"Knowing how much heat the earth is losing from its interior tells us something about how the system operates," Pollack said.

"The total amount of heat loss over the entire globe is very large," Pollack added. "But losses from any given area are rather small."