International group of experts assess the possibilities of drilling into magma at Krafla

19. September 2014

Some fifty scientists and engineers from all over the world, both volcanologists and geothermal experts, attended a workshop held at Landsvirkjun’s Krafla Geothermal Station this September. The main sponsors of the meeting were the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program and Landsvirkjun itself.

Magma drilling could increase expertise on the internal features of volcanoes  

The meeting included a review of proposals put forward for magma drilling in the Krafla area where magma is found at shallow levels within the earth’s crust. The objective of the drilling is to increase expertise on the internal features of volcanoes, to research the division of magma and solid rock and to review the practical potential of these conditions; utilising the heat from magma for geothermal utilisation.

Further research could also lead to increased general knowledge on the magmatic systems of volcanoes and the dangers of volcanic activity in areas where magma is found at shallow levels, within the earth’s crust

Powerful magma chamber at Krafla

Drilling conducted in the area in the last few years revealed that magma could be accessed at a depth of between 2.1-2.5 km. Samples of magma, quenched and solidified, were found in the circulation fluid. The chemical composition of the magma is similar to that of rhyolite. This type of magma is common in the central volcanoes in Iceland and is thought to be formed by the melting of hydrothermally altered basaltic crust as a result of high temperatures at the root of the central volcano.

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