Scientists estimate that within the continental United States there is a sizable resource of accessible geothermal energy – about 3,000 times the current annual U.S. consumption. However, tapping this energy has been difficult and expensive due to digging and drilling without a clear location.

“Since many geothermal resources are hidden, that is, they do not show any clear indications of their presence at the surface, locating them by just using observations made at the surface is difficult,” explains Matthijs van Soest, associate research professional at the Noble Gas Geochemistry and Geochronology Laboratory within the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and also co-author of a research report that appears in the Nov. 30 issue of the scientific journal Science.

Today, research reveals that the price for geothermal exploration can be lowered "