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2020.02.21 - Why is Hungary this rich in thermal treasures?

Why is Hungary this rich in thermal treasures?

The Carpathian Basin is a pretty extraordinary place. Its flora is uniquely rich compared to the nearby regions', it has been a melting pot for thousands of years and it is unique in a geological sense too. Yes, it is a thermal treasure: there are the biggest thermal water supplies here besides Iceland, Japan, USA, French, Italy, China, and New-Zealand. What could be the reason behind this?


Not only the number of supplies is fulfilling but their quality is extraordinary too concerning the fact that its temperature is perfect for both thermal healing treatments and energetical usage since it doesn’t burst to the surface like a vaporing-hot Geysir because its temperature is below 100 °C. In addition to that its composition is very variable too, this is why it can be used in many different fields of healing. 

How did and does this huge amount of thermal water form? Its formation needs two completely unrelated things: heat and water. Let’s talk about them separately since they originate from two separate places. 

Where does the heat come from?

The heat of the core of the Earth comes through melting minerals up to the surface. Surprising fact: 99% of the mass of the Earth is hotter than 1000 °C. This hot material is separated from us by the Earth’s crust. The actual

source of this enormous amount of heat is not perfectly known yet. According to some scientists, the energy of ancient planet collisions is stored inside of our planet while others say that radioactive decays fuel the genesis of the heat. To a little extent, the tide effect of the Moon and the Sun also warm the inside of the Earth. However, no matter the source, the 33 km wide crust is pretty thin compared to the 13000 km diameter. 

The extraordinary geological structure of the Carpathian Basin explains the richness of the thermal supply of our home country since the crust here happened to be much thinner than average (somewhere only 22 km instead of the 33 km) this is why the upper levels here can be heated up much easier. Here, the temperature rises by 6-8 °C every 100 m deeper, instead of the 2-3 °C average. On the continental shelves, it only rises by 1 °C every 100 m, this is why they mine gold in Africa since the temperature there is “only” 70 °C 4 km below the surface. 


Where does the water come from?

The water from thermal wells and thermal sources comes from two main sources. It either originates from the aquiferitic water warming up between the crust’s layers or from the karst water which was captivated millions of years ago which comes to the surface by itself or is brought up by us drilling wells. We thought that thermal water supplies are inexhaustible since they are always refilled by rain etc. for a long time, but unfortunately, it turns out that this is not the case. The majority of this thermal water has been waiting down there for millions of years to reach the surface before we started to use them. These resources don’t refill completely this is why there are strict rules concerning their usage. The cooled down water must be pressed down back between the layers of the crust by the user (so it can be heated up again) before the new, already warm is brought up. 

Fortunately, there is some good news: unlike water, the heat source can be considered infinite for humanity, thus if we only want to use this water for manufacturing energy it is very effective, and it would be foolish not to use.