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Volcanology in Iceland

Seismic studies indicate that there may be several magma sources, even within a single volcanic system, in Iceland’s Eastern Volcanic Zone. With help from Earthwatch, the next frontier in volcanology in Iceland involves understanding whether seemingly separate volcanic systems are linked to the same magma sources, at what depth, and what effects such connections may have on overall regional volcanic activity. Tracing where magma is coming from and where it is going should give scientists a better handle on its ultimate “fate”—which has significant implications for being able to predict the occurrence and duration of eruptions and other volcanic disturbances. You can help Profs. Hazel Rymer and Andres Pavez, along with researchers from the University of Iceland, take our understanding of Iceland’s volcanoes to a new level.

Since seismic activity and magma flow create minor-but-measurable disturbances in “local” gravity, you’ll be helping create high resolution gravity and GPS maps of the region, from Vatnajökull in the south to Krafla volcano in the north. You’ll cover an area of about 120 x 75 km2 and include sites of ground deformation at the central volcano of Askja as well as the historically dormant--but recently reactivated--Upptyppingar volcano. This work will enable Prof. Rymer and her colleagues to produce a detailed structural model of the shallow-crust areas of the volcanic system in this region, to complement deeper-crust studies also being conducted.

Permanent GPS stations established by the University of Iceland will be used as control points and intermediate stations will be located by high resolution handheld GPS approx every 200m. Gravity meters will be used to produce raw gravity data that will be merged with existing gravity data.

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What to Expect?

This expedition seeks to discover how magma moves and gets stored at relatively shallow depths beneath the Eastern Volcanic Zone (EVZ) in Iceland.

Working in the northern part of the EVZ, you’ll help scientists conduct gravity studies and collect GPS data from field sites around the Vatnajokull ice cap, as well as near Upptyppingar volcanic mountain and the Askja and Krafla volcanoes. Because of recently identified magma movements in these areas, researchers have a great opportunity to study magma flows and improve predictions of future volcanic activity.

  • Program ID: # 1985
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Akureyri, Iceland Akureyri
    Iceland
    65° 40' 59.9988" N, 18° 6' 0" W
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
    Very Fit
  • Closest Airport:
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs

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