Articles | Volume 20
Sci. Dril., 20, 51–58, 2015
Sci. Dril., 20, 51–58, 2015

Workshop report 17 Dec 2015

Workshop report | 17 Dec 2015

Time-lapse characterization of hydrothermal seawater and microbial interactions with basaltic tephra at Surtsey Volcano

M. D. Jackson1, M. T. Gudmundsson2, W. Bach3, P. Cappelletti4, N. J. Coleman5, M. Ivarsson6, K. Jónasson7, S. L. Jørgensen8, V. Marteinsson9, J. McPhie10, J. G. Moore11, D. Nielson12, J. M. Rhodes13, C. Rispoli4, P. Schiffman14, A. Stefánsson2, A. Türke3, T. Vanorio15, T. B. Weisenberger16, J. D. L. White17, R. Zierenberg14, and B. Zimanowski18 M. D. Jackson et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Berkeley, California, USA
  • 2Nordvulk, Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 3University of Bremen, Department of Geosciences, Bremen, Germany
  • 4Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e delle Risorse (DiSTAR), University FEDERICO II, Naples, Italy
  • 5Department of Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Environmental Science, University of Greenwich, Kent, UK
  • 6Department of Palaeobiology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 7Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Gardabaer, Iceland
  • 8Centre for Geobiology, Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Norway
  • 9Matís, Food Safety, Environment & Genetics, Reykjavík, Iceland, Agricultural University of Iceland, Hvanneyri, 311 Borgarnes, Iceland
  • 10Department of Earth Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
  • 11U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California, USA
  • 12DOSECC Exploration Services, 2075 Pioneer Rd., Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  • 13Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
  • 14Department of Geology, University of California Davis, California, USA
  • 15Stanford Rock Physics Laboratory, Geophysics Department, Stanford, California, USA
  • 16ÍSOR, Iceland GeoSurvey, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 17Geology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 18Institut für Geographie und Geologie, Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

Abstract. A new International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) project will drill through the 50-year-old edifice of Surtsey Volcano, the youngest of the Vestmannaeyjar Islands along the south coast of Iceland, to perform interdisciplinary time-lapse investigations of hydrothermal and microbial interactions with basaltic tephra. The volcano, created in 1963–1967 by submarine and subaerial basaltic eruptions, was first drilled in 1979. In October 2014, a workshop funded by the ICDP convened 24 scientists from 10 countries for 3 and a half days on Heimaey Island to develop scientific objectives, site the drill holes, and organize logistical support. Representatives of the Surtsey Research Society and Environment Agency of Iceland also participated. Scientific themes focus on further determinations of the structure and eruptive processes of the type locality of Surtseyan volcanism, descriptions of changes in fluid geochemistry and microbial colonization of the subterrestrial deposits since drilling 35 years ago, and monitoring the evolution of hydrothermal and biological processes within the tephra deposits far into the future through the installation of a Surtsey subsurface observatory. The tephra deposits provide a geologic analog for developing specialty concretes with pyroclastic rock and evaluating their long-term performance under diverse hydrothermal conditions. Abstracts of research projects are posted at

Short summary
A new drilling program at Surtsey Volcano, a 50-year-old oceanic island and UNESCO World Heritage site in Iceland, will undertake interdisciplinary investigations of rift zone volcanism, dynamic hydrothermal mineral assemblages in basaltic tephra, and subterrestrial microbial colonization and succession in altered tephra and hydrothermal fluids. Long-term monitoring of evolving hydrothermal and biological processes will occur through installation of a 200m deep Surtsey subsurface observatory.