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Drilling into active magma

What happens when you drill into an active magma body? Well, not as much as you think, but it is still awesome, nevertheless (especially when your officemate does it).

Drilling in Iceland lead by geologists from UC Davis hit magma this week. Image courtesy of Peter Schiffman, UC Davis.

Quick props to my officemate here at UC Davis, Naomi Marks, who happened to be part of a team (with UC Davis geology faculty Peter Schiffman and Robert Zierenberg) that drilled into active rhyolite magma in Iceland this week. Doesn’t happen very often – this might be the third recorded time humans have drilled into magma – but when it does, it is very exciting. The magma was hit ~2 miles / 5 km below the surface and is likely an offshoot of a larger magmatic system nearby. The drilling was exploratory drilling as part of the Iceland Deep Drilling Project … but this might mean that they can’t drill in the hole anymore. Hey, you win some, you lose some, but note, no eruption in sight!

Congratulations to Naomi, Peter and Z.


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