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About

World’s first magma research facility for advanced studies and experiments

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What is KMT?

KMT is an extraordinary scientific endeavour to establish the world´s first magma centre – an international, open access research facility with in-situ access to a magma chamber for advanced understanding and experiments concerning magma dynamics, extreme geothermal energy, and volcanic risks.

KMT opens the door to tackling the ultimate challenge of harnessing geothermal energy directly from molten 900 degree rock to help solve the world’s energy challenges, mitigating volcano hazards and understanding how rocky planets have formed their crust.

By drilling into a known magma body sitting about 2 km deep below the Krafla Caldera in Iceland, this ground-breaking undertaking will enhance our knowledge of magma to protect millions of people, towns and cities across the world from volcanic disasters, and explore ways to capture geothermal energy more efficiently – potentially multiplying the output of a single borehole.
KMT will be the international hub to (1) develop our science of hot Earth; (2) explore new ways of understanding and monitoring volcanoes; (3) revolutionize our ability to extract and exploit geothermal energy sources; and (4) test new technologies and materials to withstand the most extreme conditions in Earth’s crust.

Long-Term Vision

KMT will be an international facility for magma observation and experiments, constituting a major research infrastructure and over time evolving into multiple boreholes and surface support facilities.
2017
Project start
2017
Now
Preparation
Now
2026
Drilling mission start (KMT-I)
2026
2028
Drilling KMT-II
2028
2030
Research facility
2030

Mission

KMT’s goal is to revolutionize our knowledge of magma and how we monitor volcanos, harness near-magma energy, and develop new technologies for extreme environments.

VOLCANO MONITORING

Volcanic hazards transcend national boundaries. By drilling and instrumenting in magma, KMT will revolutionize volcano monitoring, leading to ground-breaking outcomes on how the world reads signs of volcanic unrest. This will result in a leap in civil protection measures for the 800 million people who live within 100 km of an active volcano.

GEOTHERMAL POTENTIAL

Experiments at the rock-magma boundary will vastly improve our knowledge of the roots of geothermal systems, leading to new discoveries on potential energy extraction directly from magma. Coupled with cutting-edge drilling technology, this will dramatically change the economics of geothermal energy and improve energy security.

GEOSCIENCE KNOWLEDGE

Magma chambers remain a mystery for geoscientists. KMT will unearth magma samples and provide direct observations that will enable us to better understand magma. This will allow us to examine the real properties of the Earth’s deep interior and develop new models about how the planet works. Our communities will acquire, and benefit from, a new understanding of magma dynamics, modernising future geosciences efforts.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY

KMT provides the perfect opportunity for innovation by developing and testing new technologies, methods, materials and instruments. This new technology frontier will allow us to improve magma-monitoring techniques for volcanology, harness magma heat in volcanic provinces worldwide, and advance geothermal engineering in superhot (~900°C) environments.

Infrastructure

Our aim is to design and construct stable boreholes for sampling and continuous long-term monitoring of magma bodies found at 2,1 km depth and their immediate environment.
KMT-I will serve as a 2100 m deep monitoring borehole, where we will drill, sample, and instrument the rock-magma interface at Krafla. Designed to be sustainable and robust enough for continued monitoring and sensor measurements in the long-term it would be the first permanent magma observatory in the world.
KMT-II will provide a testbed for long-term experiments with magma and high-enthalpy fluid, such as cooling, pressurizing, and flow-testing as well as use of novel extreme sensors, while near-field monitoring from KMT-I continues.

Why Krafla?

Krafla is one of the world’s most researched geothermal systems and the location of a known magma body at a relatively shallow depth is known.
Krafla is a volcanic caldera in the Northeast of Iceland of about 10 km in diameter with a 90 km long fissure zone.
Krafla has been called the cradle of geothermal in Iceland and is the site of the country´s first geothermal power station.
It has been in operation for decades with over 40 boreholes and extensive support infrastructure.
In 2009, a consortium of Icelandic geothermal companies known as the Iceland Deep Drilling Project drilled a borehole (IDDP-1) at Landsvirkjun’s geothermal field in Krafla. They accidentally crossed magma at 2.1 km.

Krafla is the only accessible place in the world where we know where magma is