Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Science & Technology: The Iceland Deep Drilling Project - On the Geothermal Exploration Frontier

There's a New Way To Tap the Earth’s Energy (Smithsonian)

The Iceland Deep Drilling Project has extended a borehole thousands of meters deep to produce geothermal power at a scale never before seen

In June 2009, a drill boring thousands of meters into the volcanic rock of northeastern Iceland became unexpectedly stuck. Upon extracting it, researchers discovered it was encased in a glass-like, silica-rich rock called rhyolite. It was solidified magma; the drill had exposed a pocket of magma, deep in the earth, and the magma had cooled, jamming up the drill.

That was the Iceland Deep Drilling Project’s first effort, an exploration of the geology and feasibility of a new kind of geothermal power based on super hot, super compressed liquid found deep underground. Now, more than seven years later, they’re at it again, extending a similar drill even farther beneath the surface of the sparse Reykjanes peninsula on Iceland’s southwest side. Less than two weeks ago, the IDDP-2 reached 3,640 meters in depth, becoming the deepest hole ever drilled in Iceland.

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