[KMDP] KMDP - Krafla Magma Drilling Project

Climate & Ecosystems
Natural Hazards

Year of Application: 2015

Expedition ID: 5029

Current Status: pending

Master Data

Prof. Dr. Donald Bruce Dingwell (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Bettina Scheu (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Francisco Caceres (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Cristian Montanaro (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Philippe Jousset (Workshop Participant)
Bernhard Prevedel (Workshop Participant)

Projektstart: 1 September, 2015
Geologisches Alter: Quaternary

Latitude: 65°44'0''N


Regionen & Städte:

Atlantic Ocean

Longitude: 16°47'0''W



hard rock

Drilling Data

Drilling Depth:
Core Yield:
Core Length:
Amount of Drill Holes:
Amount of Drill Locations:

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio:
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Magma, or more generally the hypersolidus regime defined by silicate melt being present, is responsible for the chemical differentiation of Planet Earth, including formation its crust and transport of volatiles to the hydrosphere and atmosphere. Melt extraction from crystal-rich systems and/or crystal extraction from melt-rich systems drives the mobile portion of systems towards granite. Such chemically evolved rocks are the defining feature of continental crust, whose buoyancy makes continents unsubductable and therefore permanent. Stacked magma advection, hydrothermal convection systems – best developed in calderas - carry the threat to society of natural disaster through explosive eruptions, but also bring geothermal and mineral resources to accessible depths. Measurement and sampling of the hypersolidus regime as it exists in situ are essential for a full understanding of crustal magma systems. Rapidly quenched volcanic rocks give a fair understanding of the magmatic (melt-rich) state, but material closer to the solidus is uneruptable and can only be accessed by drilling. It is inferred that beneath hydrothermal systems of volcanic fields, hosted in fractured brittle crust, lies a relatively thin conductive ductile boundary comprised of older rocks and/or newly crystallized magma extending into the hypersolidus, then onward until another rheological boundary is crossed and there is sufficient melt fraction for convective flow and/or eruption of true magma. The first borehole of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP-1), aimed to reach supercritical fluids at 4 km depth in Krafla Caldera, unexpectedly encountered rhyolite melt at 2.1 km depth. Diverse lithologies represented in cuttings and fragments recovered at the wellhead can be interpreted as a classic section as described above. However, because observations are confined to small fragments there is room for other models. Information on size scale and transitions that rigorous interpretation of mass and heat transfer processes require is lacking. Nevertheless, this discovery should be seen as a huge first step bringing us to the threshold of the hypersolidus regime, and compels us to propose as a new project, the Krafla Magma Drilling Project (KMDP). KMDP is envisioned as an extended exploration of this unprecedented natural rhyolite intrusion laboratory through drilling observations and complementary surface and laboratory measurements and numerical modeling. Discoveries should be broadly applicable to silicic calderas and likely to other shallow magma systems worldwide. Among the most important possible outcomes for society are progress towards tapping of magma energy and improved forecasting of eruption in restless silicic calderas.

Related Publications

Wadsworth, Fabian B., Vasseur, Jérémie, Schauroth, Jenny, Llewellin, Edward W., Dobson, Katherine J., Havard, Tegan, Scheu, Bettina, von Aulock, Felix W., Gardner, James E., Dingwell, Donald B., Hess, Kai-Uwe, Colombier, Mathieu, Marone, Federica, Tuffen, Hugh, Heap, Michael J. (2019). "A general model for welding of ash particles in volcanic systems validated using in situ X-ray tomography" Earth and Planetary Science Letters 525 p115726

Kästner, Felix, Giese, Rüdiger, Planke, Sverre, Millett, John M., Flóvenz, Ólafur G. (2018). "Seismic imaging in the Krafla high-temperature geothermal field, NE Iceland, using zero- and far-offset vertical seismic profiling (VSP) data" Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

Millett, John M., Planke, Sverre, Kästner, Felix, Blischke, Anett, Hersir, Gylfi Páll, Halldórsdóttir, Sæunn, Flóvenz, Ólafur G., Árnadóttir, Sigurveig, Helgadóttir, Helga M., Vakulenko, Sergey, Buryak, Sergey, Erlendsson, Ögmundur, Giese, Rüdiger, Cavailhes, Jehanne P., Jerram, Dougal A., Guðmundsson, Ásgrímur, Júlíusson, Egill (2018). "Sub-surface geology and velocity structure of the Krafla high temperature geothermal field, Iceland: Integrated ditch cuttings, wireline and zero offset vertical seismic profile analysis" Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research online

Colombier, M., Wadsworth, F.B., Gurioli, L., Scheu, B., Küppers, U., Di Muro, A., Dingwell, D.C. (2017). "The evolution of pore connectivity in volcanic rocks" Earth and Planetary Science Letters 462 p99-109

Cahmann, K.V., Scheu, B. (2015). "Chapter 25 - Magmatic Fragmentation" The Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (Second Edition) Part IV - Explosive Volcanism p459-471

Oliva-Urcia, Belén, Kontny, Agnes (2012). "Remanent magnetization of maghemitized basalts from Krafla drill cores, NE-Iceland" Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica 56 p641-657

Perugini, D., De Campos, C. P., Ertel-Ingrisch, W., Dingwell, D. B. (2012). "The space and time complexity of chaotic mixing of silicate melts: Implications for igneous petrology" Lithos 155 p326-340

Fowler, A.C., Scheu, B., Lee, W.T., McGuinness, M.J. (2009). "A theoretical model of the explosive fragmentation of vesicular magma" Proc. R. Soc. A