Well SE-2b has been successfully completed on Surtsey on August 27th. The well was drilled to a total vertical depth of 191.64 m on August 26th. Subsequently, wireline logging was conducted followed by inserting an aluminum casing. The aluminum casing, with five perforated sections is a major achievement and the Surtsey observatory is a key aspect for further microbiological and geochemical research studies under hydrothermal conditions. By completion of well SE-2b several major goals of the project could be achieved.
Drilling and completion of well SE-2b was led on Surtsey by ÍSOR geologist Dr. Tobias B. Weisenberger.
This reaches project on Surtsey is the largest research project on the island. The project began in early August. It‘s purpose is to highlight the formation and development of volcanic islands by intergrating volcanic, geophysics, civil engineering and microbioligy.
The intention was to drill two holes in the island and take a drill bit, another 200 meters long vertical and the other from a 300 meter long slope. Investigate the internal structure and development of geothermal energy in the island as an example of short-lived geothermal systems in the outbreak of the ocean crust. The presence and diversity of microorganisms at different temperatures in the island's interior will be further investigated. Samples will be investigated to gain insight into the microbial isolation and their role in Surtsey. After drilling, the vertical well would be used for decades as an underground research center for monitoring, sampling and experimentation, which will describe long-term development in the interaction of microbes, sea water and the rock formation.
The project is called SUSTAIN and is funded by numerous international funds, including from Germany, Norway, the United States and Iceland. Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, Professor of Geophysics at the University of Iceland, and Marie Jackson, Associate Professor at the University of Utah, USA, are the principal investigators of the project. The project includes researchers from Iceland, USA, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy, New Zealand and Australia, a total of 50 people. Leading researchers in the project from Iceland are in addition to Magnús Tumi Guðmundsson, Andri Stefánsson, Professor of Geoscience at the University of Iceland, Viggó Þór Marteinsson Microbiologist at Matís, Tobias B. Weisenberger Geologist at ÍSOR and Kristján Jónasson Geologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History.
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Photos below are all taken at drillsite on Surtsey island by Tobias B. Weisenberger in August 2017.