Home

K.G. Jebsen Centre for Deep Sea Research

Going Deep - Nature

Iceland drilling project aims to unearth how islands form

Scientists will look into the heart of Surtsey, an island created 50 years ago by a volcanic eruption.

nature_paper.jpg

Going Deep - Nature
Photo:
Sigurd Thorarinsson

Geologists and biologists are about to pierce one of the world’s youngest islands: tiny Surtsey, which was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions off Iceland's southwestern coast between 1963 and 1967. Next month, the team plans to drill two holes into Surtsey’s heart, to explore how warm volcanic rock, cold seawater and subterranean microbes interact. 

It will be the most detailed look ever at the guts of a newly born oceanic island. “Surtsey is our best bet at getting a detailed picture of this type of volcanic activity — how ocean islands start to form,” says Magnús Guðmundsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.

Read more