holes and pits

Holes and Pits: Deep Drilling in Iceland

Today in Holes and Pits: Iceland’s mighty magma-seeking boreholes. Since the 1970s, when rising oil prices incentivized the country to search for alternative power sources, Iceland has been drilling away, seeking to tap the geothermal resources produced by its over 120 active and inactive volcanoes.

At Krafla in 2009, the Iceland Deep Drilling Project accidentally hit a magma reserve at 1.25 mi below the surface. The result (in addition to crazy plumes of toxic steam that corroded mining equipment and ultimately the first magma-powered geothermal system in the world) was the hottest borehole ever documented, initially measuring over 1000 degrees Celsius and stabilized at 450 Celsius. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3d8hC71xGpc)

 

The Krafla project drill unexpectedly intercepted a magma pocket at 2 km below ground:

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 Steam billows from the Krafla borehole:
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