[SUSTAIN] SUSTAIN - Surtsey Underwater Volcanic system for Thermophiles, Alteration proceses and Innovative concretes

Climate & Ecosystems
Sustainable Georesources
Element Cycles

Year of Application: 2015

Expedition ID: 5059

Current Status: ongoing

hydrothermal alteration
microbial life
rift zone volcanism
Master Data

Prof. Dr. Bernd Zimanowski (PI)
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bach (PI)
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Koepke (PI)

Dr. Olaf Juschus (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Mathieu Colombier (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Andreas Türke (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Wolf-Achim Kahl (Scientific Participant)

Projektstart: 1 July, 2016
Geologisches Alter: quarternary

Latitude: 63°18'10''N


Regionen & Städte:

Atlantic Ocean

Longitude: 20°36'18''W



hard rock

Drilling Data

Drilling Depth: 878.1
Core Yield: 836.93
Core Length: 854.43
Amount of Drill Holes: 3
Amount of Drill Locations: 1

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio: 95.15
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio: 97.88


Surtsey volcano, now 50 years old, represents a world-class example of island formation through rift zone volcanism. The 181 m hole drilled in 1979 (Jakobsson & Moore 1986) provides a comprehensive petrological, mineralogical, and thermal framework to understand the structure of the volcano, and early eruptive and hydrothermal processes in the parent tephra and feeder dikes. 

The proposed drilling program will use the natural laboratory of the Surtsey tephra above and below sealevel and the thermal profile of a basalt dike swarm below sea level to describe how the hydrothermal alteration of tephra drilled 40 years ago at ~25–140 °C has evolved.  It will refine our understanding of seawater-rock interactions that influence diagenetic and microbial alteration of tephra to produce lithified tuff; describe how rift zone volcanic islands form, lithify, and are ultimately destroyed; and explore how explosive magma interactions with seawater send tephra into the jet stream, leading to health risks and airplane encounters with airborne ash. 

Related Publications

Cole, RP, White, JDL, Dürig, T, Büttner, R, Zimanowski, B, Bowman, MH, Conway, CE, Leonard, GS, Pure, LR, Townsend, DB (2021). "Controls on andesitic glaciovolcanism at ice-capped volcanoes from field and experimental studies" Geology 49 p1069-1073

Dürig, Tobias, White, James DL, Murch, AP, Zimanowski, Bernd, Büttner, R, Mele, D, Dellino, P, Carey, RJ, Schmidt, Louise Steffensen, Spitznagel, N (2020). "Deep-sea eruptions boosted by induced fuel–coolant explosions" Nature Geoscience 13 p498-503

Dürig, Tobias, White, JDL, Zimanowski, B, Büttner, R, Murch, A, Carey, RJ (2020). "Deep-sea fragmentation style of Havre revealed by dendrogrammatic analyses of particle morphometry" Bulletin of Volcanology 82 p1-20

Türke, A., Jackson, M. D., Bach, W., Kahl, W. A., Grzybowski, B., Marshall, B., Gudmundsson, M. T., Jørgensen, S. L. (2019). "Design of the subsurface observatory at Surtsey volcano, Iceland" Sci. Dril. 25 p57-62

Jackson, M. D., Gudmundsson, M. T., Weisenberger, T. B., Rhodes, J. M., Stefánsson, A., Kleine, B. I., Lippert, P. C., Marquardt, J. M., Reynolds, H. I., Kück, J., Marteinsson, V. T., Vannier, P., Bach, W., Barich, A., Bergsten, P., Bryce, J. G., Cappelletti, P., Couper, S., Fahnestock, M. F., Gorny, C. F., Grimaldi, C., Groh, M., Gudmundsson, Á, Gunnlaugsson, Á T., Hamlin, C., Högnadóttir, T., Jónasson, K., Jónsson, S. S., Jørgensen, S. L., Klonowski, A. M., Marshall, B., Massey, E., McPhie, J., Moore, J. G., Ólafsson, E. S., Onstad, S. L., Perez, V., Prause, S., Snorrason, S. P., Türke, A., White, J. D. L., Zimanowski, B. (2019). "SUSTAIN drilling at Surtsey volcano, Iceland, tracks hydrothermal and microbiological interactions in basalt 50 years after eruption" Scientific Drilling 25 p35-46

Jerram, D. A., Millett, J. M., Kück, J., Thomas, D., Planke, S., Haskins, E., Lautze, N., Pierdominici, S. (2019). "Understanding volcanic facies in the subsurface: a combined core, wireline logging and image log data set from the PTA2 and KMA1 boreholes, Big Island, Hawai`i" Sci. Dril. 25 p15-33

Verolino, A, White, JDL, Zimanowski, B (2018). "Particle transport in subaqueous eruptions: An experimental investigation" Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research p298-310

Jackson, M. D., Gudmundsson, M. T., Bach, W., Cappelletti, P., Coleman, N. J., Ivarsson, M., Jónasson, K., Jørgensen, S. L., Marteinsson, V., McPhie, J., Moore, J. G., Nielson, D., Rhodes, J. M., Rispoli, C., Schiffman, P., Stefánsson, A., Türke, A., Vanorio, T., Weisenberger, T. B., White, J. D. L., Zierenberg, R., Zimanowski, B. (2015). "Time-lapse characterization of hydrothermal seawater and microbial interactions with basaltic tephra at Surtsey Volcano" Sci. Dril. p51-58