[IDDP] IDDP - Iceland Deep Drilling Project

A Workshop to plan drilling a 5 km deep well (IDDP-2) into the root zone of an analog to a black smoker on land at Reykjanes, Iceland

Climate & Ecosystems

Year of Application: 2012

Expedition ID: 5029

Current Status: ongoing

native hydrogen
natural resources
supercritical fluids
thermal regimes
Master Data

Dr. Philippe Jousset (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Christina Flechsig (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Agnes Kontny (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Cristian Montanaro (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Sarah B. Cichy (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Erik Spangenberg (Scientific Participant)
Ronald Conze (Workshop Participant)
Rike Köpke (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Ulrich Harms (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Emmanuel Gaucher (Workshop Participant)
Prof. Dr. Ernst Huenges (Workshop Participant)
Bernhard Prevedel (Workshop Participant)
Dr. Thomas Wiersberg (Workshop Participant)
Prof. Dr. David Bruhn (Workshop Participant)

Geologisches Alter:

Latitude: 63°49'12''N


Regionen & Städte:

Atlantic Ocean

Longitude: 22°41'24''W



supercritical fluids
hard rock

Main purpose

The main purpose of the IDDP project is to find out if it is economically feasible to extract energy and chemicals out of hydrothermal systems at supercritical conditions. To study the supercritical hydrous fluid, an advanced drilling technology needs to be applied and a novel fluid handling and evaluation system designed. The improvement of this basic idea by the IDDP is to drill deep enough into the roots of a conventional high temperature hydrothermal system to produce water at supercritical conditions and bring it to the surface as 400-600°C superheated steam, at subcritical pressures (<220 bar). In the case of low permeability systems, by injecting cold fluid into the hot rocks, fractures can be induced to complete the thermal mining cycle.

Drilling Data

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

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio:
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio:


Drilling of IDDP-1

The first full scale IDDP-1 well was meant to be completed to 4.5 km depth late summer 2009 and the first flow test to be performed some months later. However, that drilling operation was abruptly terminated by late June at 2.1 km depth when drilling penetrated molten rock. Rapidly quenched magma of rhyolitic composition was returned to the surface in the form of quenched obsidian glass that plugged the lowest 20 m of the hole. Fortunately, due to earlier drilling problems, the well had been cased down to 1958 m depth, and was completed with a slotted liner down to 2080 m depth. This was in preparation for a flow test of the superheated regime just above a magma chamber, which should be performed autumn 2009. The flow test began in March 2010, and by July 2010 the well was producing some 30 kg/s of 330°C hot superheated steam at 16,5 bar-g pressure, and is still heating.  This corresponds to some 20 MW of electric power.


ICDP Status Report 2017

The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) is a long-term program by an industry-science-government consortium aimed at investigating very high temperature, supercritical geothermal systems as a way of improving the economics of geothermal energy production. A feasibility study indicated that a well tapping naturally occurring supercritical fluids would produce a power output an order of magnitude greater than that from a 300 °C geothermal well. However reaching a supercritical geothermal reservoir requires drilling to depths of 4 to 5 km, with temperatures in the range of 450-600 °C. In 2009 the well IDDP-1 was drilled to test this concept at Krafla in NE Iceland, planned to reach 4.5 km depth. Drilling had to be terminated at only 2.1 km depth when 900 °C rhyolitic magma was encountered. The borehole was completed as a subcritical well producing steam from the contact zone of the intrusion but casing and cementation were too unstable to maintain the well open for a power production.
IDDP-2 well drilling for supercritical fluids from at least 4.5 km depth started in August 2016 on the Reykjanes Peninsula in SW Iceland on the landward extension of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and lasted until January 2017. The hydrothermal fluid in the Reykjanes geothermal field is modified seawater, thus this deep well will be the first opportunity worldwide to sample the root zone of a magma-hydrothermal system similar to those that are the sources of the black smokers on the planet-encircling mid-ocean ridges. The hole reached a depth of 4626 m and nine coring runs have been performed producing four drill cores for research. High-temperature geophysical downhole logging confirmed the presence of supercritical fluids with bottom hole temperature of 427 °C and fluid pressure of 34 MPa.

Related Publications

Friðleifsson, Guðmundur Ó, Elders, Wilfred A., Zierenberg, Robert A., Fowler, Andrew P. G., Weisenberger, Tobias B., Mesfin, Kiflom G., Sigurðsson, Ómar, Níelsson, Steinþór, Einarsson, Gunnlaugur, Óskarsson, Finnbogi, Guðnason, Egill Á, Tulinius, Helga, Hokstad, Ketil, Benoit, Gibert, Nono, Frank, Loggia, Didier, Parat, Fleurice, Cichy, Sarah B., Escobedo, David, Mainprice, David (2018). "The Iceland Deep Drilling Project at Reykjanes: Drilling into the root zone of a black smoker analog" Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

Dietze, Frank, Kontny, Agnes, Heyde, Ingo, Vahle, Carsten (2011). "Magnetic anomalies and rock magnetism of basalts from Reykjanes (SW-Iceland)" Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica 55 p109-130

Oliva-Urcia, Belén, Kontny, Agnes, Vahle, Carsten, Schleicher, Anja M. (2011). "Modification of the magnetic mineralogy in basalts due to fluid–rock interactions in a high-temperature geothermal system (Krafla, Iceland)" Geophysical Journal International 186 p155-174

Oliva-Urcia, B., Kontny, A. (2007). "Crustal magnetization and magnetic petrology from hot-spot related basalts - an approach from low-T magnetic measurements and magnetic force microscopy" IRM QUATERLY 17 p3-4

Vahle, C., Kontny, A., Gunnlaugsson, H. P., Kristjansson, L. (2007). "The Stardalur magnetic anomaly revisited—New insights into a complex cooling and alteration history" Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 164 p119-141