| || In the heart of the Massif Central, the eighty or so extinct volcanoes of the Puys range may not look recent, but they were formed barely 15,000 years ago. Seeming to rise in order to look across the Rhône valley to the Alps on the other side, they rise above a series of plateaus, rich in hot springs, which overlook the plain of the Rhône. This landscape did not happen by chance. It has its origins in the depths of the Earth’s crust, which is greatly thickened beneath the Alps and drags the rocks of the surrounding regions downward. Faults are formed, and blocks subside, gradually giving shape to plateaus, hillsides, and plains where the Earth’s crust has become thinner and heat is very close to the surface. This is the reason for the series of plateaus that stretch from northern Italy to Slovakia. The Alps are therefore surrounded by areas with high potential for geothermal energy, and every year many studies seek to discover how this resource can be tapped.
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