In this crater located in the northeast of the island, an international consortium wants to drill two kilometers deep, directly inside the volcano, to create the world’s first underground magma observatory, a project worthy of Jules Verne that also has active intentions.
Launched in 2014 and the first drilling scheduled for 2024, the $100 million project is led by scientists and engineers from 38 institutes and research companies in eleven countries.
Dubbed the “Krafla Magma Testbed” (KMT), the project aims to access a lava-filled well. Unlike surface lava, molten rock remains at an unknown miles depth.
“There is no such observatory and we have never observed magma underground after three accidental encounters in wells” in Hawaii, Kenya and Iceland, explains Paolo Papali, of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology associated with the project.
The project also aims to enhance geothermal exploration, as well as forecasting and hazards of volcanic eruptions.
The first stage of drilling, which is expected to cost $25 million, includes several stretches of exploration around and below the magma. The start date is set for 2024. The vent will remain open and will allow access to magma and obtain samples.
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