Krafla Geothermal Area Attracts International Research Project Skip to content

Krafla Geothermal Area Attracts International Research Project

By Iceland Review

Krafla Mývatnssveit power plant electricity
Photo: Páll Stefánsson. A power plant in North Iceland.

Some 15 international doctoral students are studying the Krafla geothermal area in Northern Iceland to understand how to best use its energy resources, reports RÚV.

Central to the investigation is a thorough measurement and mapping of the magma chamber below Krafla caldera. Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, professor of geophysics at University of Iceland, has stressed the difficulty in determining the exact location of the magma chamber and its distribution across the area. However, given the extensive measurements now underway, Magnús Tumi says that the project will hopefully yield both theoretical and practical results.

The doctoral students are part of the international research initiative, IMPROVE, a project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The project focuses on early-career researchers and features co-operation between both academia and industry. IMPROVE focuses on two main sites: Mount Etna in Italy, one of the best-monitored volcanic areas in the world, and the Krafla caldera in Iceland, an important site for geothermal energy production.

Within Iceland, the project is led by the Institute of Earth Sciences at University of Iceland, with support from the National Power Company of Iceland and 12 other universities. 

The Krafla caldera was last active from 1975 to 1984. Prior to this, the only recorded eruption was in 1720, making it an unlikely candidate for Iceland’s next eruption, according to Magnús Tumi.

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