"Because we drilled into magma, this borehole could now be a really high-quality geothermal well," said Peter Schiffmann, professor of geology at UC Davis and a member of the research team along with fellow UC Davis geology professor Robert Zierenberg and UC Davis graduate student Naomi Marks. The project was led by Wilfred Elders, a geology professor at UC Riverside.
A paper describing geological results from the well was published this month in the journal Geology.
When tested, the magma well produced dry steam at 750 degrees Fahrenheit (400 degrees Celsius). The team estimated that this steam could generate up to 25 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power 25,000 to 30,000 homes.
That compares to 5 to 8 megawatts produced by a typical geothermal well, Elders said. Iceland already gets about one-third of its electricity and almost all of its home heating from geothermal sources.
The team was drilling into the Krafla caldera as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, an industry-government consortium, to test whether "supercritical" water -- very hot water under very high pressure -- could be exploited as a source of power.
They planned to drill to 15,000 feet -- more than two miles deep-- but at 6,900 feet, magma (molten rock from the Earth's core) flowed into the well, forcing them to stop.
The composition of magma from the borehole is also providing insight into how magmas form beneath Iceland, Schiffmann said.
The team included researchers from two Icelandic power companies, HS Orka hf and Landsvirkjun Power; Iceland GeoSurvey; the U.S. Geological Survey; Stanford University; New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology; and the University of Oregon, Eugene; as well as UC Davis and UC Riverside.
The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program.Media contact(s):
Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
Stagnation in the South Pacific Explains Natural CO2 Fluctuations
23.02.2018 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals
22.02.2018 | University of Arizona
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy