KMT intend to greatly improve volcanic eruption predictions

KMT intends to improve the volcanic eruption predictions considerably as …

KMT intends to improve the volcanic eruption predictions considerably as well as utilizing geothermal energy. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Two of the main goals of a new non-profit organization are to greatly improve global volcanic eruption predictions and design new and more cost-effective methods for the energy production of geothermal energy. The idea was born when they accidentally drilled into the magma in Krafla in 2009.

The newly-founded non-profit organization is called Krafla Magma Testbed (KMT) and the board of the organization consists of representatives of those who have supported the project financially. Árni Magnússon, director of ÍSOR on behalf of the Icelandic state, Hörður Arnarson, director of Landsvirkjun, and Marco Bohnhoff, director of the International Continental Scientific Drill Program (ICDP), as well as John Ludd, president of the European Geosciences Union, and he is also chairman of the board. The director of KMT is Björn Þór Guðmundsson.

Krafla powerplant.

Krafla powerplant. mbl.is/GSH

Unexpectedly drilled into magma

KMT aims to build an international research center for volcanic and energy research in the Krafla area in Þingeyjarsveit in the coming years. The idea for the project stems from the Icelandic deep-water drilling project IDDP-1, where they unexpectedly drilled into magma at Krafla at a depth of 2.1 km in 2009.

The equipment used in IDDP-1 was not able to withstand the heat, pressure, and corrosion closer to the magma but important information was gathered from the borehole before it was closed. For one thing, scientists were now able to determine the exact location of a base magma chamber, which is considered unique worldwide, and for another, the borehole was found to be ten times more powerful than traditional production boreholes in Krafla.

Developing new equipment

It became clear that this incident presented a great opportunity for volcanology and energy research. Now fifteen years after the unexpected drilling of magma in Krafla, the aim is to do so again with a new instrumentation that KMT is developing.

The project has been in development for a long time, and a large group of scientists and experts from all over the world stand behind KMT. Since 2017, GEORG – the Geothermal Research Cluster has been responsible for managing the project and has been supportive in setting it up. As part of this, Krafla Magma Testbed was formally established at the end of last year to create a solid and independent framework for financing and operations over the long term.

Here is a video from KMT explaining the process:

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