Geothermal potential of small sub-volcanic intrusions in a typical Icelandic caldera setting

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Steffi Burchardt
Mohsen Bazargan
Einar Bessi Gestsson
Christoph Hieronymus
Erika Ronchin
Hugh Tuffen
Michael J. Heap
Jonathan Davidson
Ben Kennedy
Alex Hobé
Elodie Saubin


Geothermal exploration targets large magmatic intrusions as heat sources because of their size, longevity, and amount of stored energy, but as shallow volcanic plumbing systems comprise numerous smaller intrusions, their geothermal potential warrants consideration. Here, we evaluate the geothermal impact of dykes and sills on caldera-infill rocks. We present geological data and geothermometry on intrusions in the eroded Breiðuvík caldera in Northeast Iceland, which serves as an analogue to the active, and geothermally exploited, Krafla volcano. These data inform 2D finite element models of dyke and sill intrusions that consider heat transfer in porous media. Our results indicate that small intrusions create considerable thermal anomalies in their immediate vicinity. These anomalies are larger-magnitude and longer-lasting for individual thick sills and dykes, but networks of smaller sills and dykes emplaced close in time and space can create more widespread thermal anomalies that may be viable economic targets for decades after their emplacement.


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Burchardt, S., Bazargan, M., Bessi Gestsson, E., Hieronymus, C., Ronchin, E., Tuffen, H., Heap, M. J., Davidson, J., Kennedy, B., Hobé, A. and Saubin, E. (2022) “Geothermal potential of small sub-volcanic intrusions in a typical Icelandic caldera setting”, Volcanica, 5(2), pp. 477–507. doi: 10.30909/vol.05.02.477507.
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Received 2021-07-06
Accepted 2022-10-11
Published 2022-12-12
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