Drilling in Newcastle as part of a green energy project has revealed that the city was once an exotic paradise, with comparisons being drawn with the islands in the Bahamas.
Shells and coral some 300 million years old were discovered up to 1,000ft below the ground while scientists undertook a £900,000 scheme to make use of geothermal power from the earth’s crust.
Steam escaped from the borehole on the land of the former Newcastle Brewery as drilling met its target depth of 6,562ft on Monday, reaching hot water with a temperature of 80C (176F).
The renewable resource will use energy obtained from the water to provide heat and power to hundreds of residential properties and buildings near St James’ Park.
Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability director professor Paul Younger said: “If we’re right and we pump up water at such elevated temperatures, it would mean a fully renewable energy supply for a large part of the city centre.”
The project is funded by the Newcastle Science City partnership and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.