Articles | Volume 20
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. Jackson, M. T. Gudmundsson, W. Bach, P. Cappelletti, N. J. Coleman, M. Ivarsson, K. Jónasson, S. L. Jørgensen, V. Marteinsson, J. McPhie, J. G. Moore, D. Nielson, J. M. Rhodes, C. Rispoli, P. Schiffman, A. Stefánsson, A. Türke, T. Vanorio, T. B. Weisenberger, J. D. L. White, R. Zierenberg, and B. Zimanowski

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.