In a bit of news that sounds like an act of comic book super-villainy, Swiss scientist Markus Haering will stand trail for the earth-quaking side effects of his geological alternative energy experiments.
Haering's idea included drilling deep into the ground to boil water on the hot rocks found beneath the Earth's surface, the steam then being used to power turbines that could provide electricty to 10,000 homes. The end result? $9 million worth of structural damage to the homes of citizens in Basel, Switzerland, caused by a man-made earthquake with a magnitude of 3.4.
Haering, in a moment of unintentionally hilarious understatement called the project, "a learning process for everyone involved." The experiment, headed by Geopower Basel, was shut down last week, causing some US scientists to take a second look at their own similar geothermal projects. If the court can prove that Haering knew the specific risks associated with the experiment, but proceeded anyway, Haering faces a maximum five year sentence when his verdict is delivered in the coming weeks.