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German Town Is Slowly Falling Apart Due to Geothermal Drilling Gone Wrong

The German town of Staufen is falling apart at the seams. The town of 8,100 residents, located on the edge of the Black Forest, decided to invest in geothermal energy back in 2007, aiming for a green energy future. Unfortunately, the decision backfired when the underground drilling went wrong causing hundreds of buildings to begin cracking apart.

The town rests on a layer of soft anhydrite, below which is a layer of groundwater confined to an aquifer. It was this combination which proved to be fatal for the Baden Württenburg hamlet. When the drills hit the groundwater, it poured into the anhydrate, which soon formed gypsum and expanded by about 50 percent. Over 270 buildings have suffered fractures in the ten years since and things don’t appear to be getting any better.

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