Reaction of Rhyolitic Magma to its Interception by the IDDP-1 Well, Krafla, 2009

Elodie Saubin, Alex R. L. Nichols, Anette Kærgaard Mortensen, B. M. Kennedy, Ian Schipper, Hugh Tuffen, J. W. Cole, Marlene Villeneuve, Robert A Zierenberg, Tamiko Watson

Publikation: KonferenzbeitragAbstract/Zusammenfassung


The unexpected encounter of rhyolitic magma during IDDP-1 geothermal borehole drilling at Krafla, Iceland in 2009, temporarily created the world’s hottest geothermal well. This allowed new questions to be addressed. i) How does magma react to drilling? ii) Are the margins of a magma chamber suitable for long-term extraction of supercritical fluids? To investigate these questions, we aim to reconstruct the degassing and deformation behaviour of the enigmatic magma by looking for correlations between textures in rhyolitic material retrieved from the borehole and the recorded drilling data.
During drilling, difficulties were encountered in two zones, at 2070 m and below 2093 m depth. Drilling parameters are consistent with the drill bit encountering a high permeability zone and the contact zone of a magma chamber, respectively. Magma was intercepted three times between 2101-2104.4 m depth, which culminated in an increase in standpipe pressure followed by a decrease in weight on bit interpreted as representing the ascent of magma within the borehole. Circulation returned one hour after the last interception, carrying cuttings of glassy particles, felsite with granophyre and contaminant clasts from drilling, which were sampled as a time-series for the following 9 hours.

The nature of glassy particles in this time-series varied through time, with a decrease in the proportion of vesicular clasts and a commensurate increase in dense glassy clasts, transitioning from initially colourless to brown glass. Componentry data show a sporadic decrease in felsite (from 34 wt. %), an increase in glassy particles during the first two hours (from 63 wt. % to 94 wt. %) and an increase in contaminant clasts towards the end of the cutting retrieval period. These temporal variations are probably related to the magma body architecture and interactions with the borehole. Transition from vesicular to dense clasts suggests a change in the degassing process that could be related to an early degassing phase caused by drilling-induced decompressions followed by a fast ascent after the last magma interception. Additional data in terms of shape of clasts, vesicularity, density and water content within glassy particles will link textural data to drilling history in order to investigate degassing history, origin of clasts and quenching pressure.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2017
VeranstaltungAGU Fall Meeting - New Orleans, USA / Vereinigte Staaten
Dauer: 11 Dez. 201715 Dez. 2017


KonferenzAGU Fall Meeting
Land/GebietUSA / Vereinigte Staaten
OrtNew Orleans

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