AMHERST (AP) — Geologists from Massachusetts and Connecticut are teaming to study whether hot rocks miles below New England’s surface could produce geothermal energy.

The federal Department of Energy has awarded a three-year, $441,000 grant to three scientists to research the geothermal energy potential of underground granites and gneisses.

About 450 rock samples will be collected across Massachusetts and Connecticut, then crushed at a lab and analyzed over the next three years.

The research team consists of University of Massachusetts volcanology professor Mike Rhodes, Massachusetts state geologist Steve Mabee and Connecticut state geologist Margaret Thomas.

Alternative energy advocates say using geothermal energy saves electricity and is environmentally friendly.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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