ARSF - Flight IPY07/09: Iceland, Krafla area
ARSF project IPY07/09: The relationship between faulting and magmatism in the Krafla rift segment, Iceland. Led by: Dr. Tim Wright, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT. Location: Krafla Glacier, Iceland.
Iceland sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) the boundary between the American and Eurasian plates, which are moving slowly apart at 2 cm/yr, the speed your fingernails grow. Although the motion of the two plates is steady in the plate interiors, it is highly episodic in the plate boundary zones. The Krafla segment of the plate boundary is 80 km long, and was highly active from 1975 to 1984 when the two plates moved apart by up to 9 metres in places, and a series of dramatic volcanic eruptions (the Krafla fires; Figure 1) changed the landscape [e.g. Tryggvason, 1984; Sigmundsson, 2006]. We proposed to acquire new high-resolution data sets over Krafla to investigate the relationship between the surface topography, cut by many faults and fissures, the magma that was erupted at the surface, and the larger volume of magma that was intruded below the surface. This complemented other knowledge about Krafla allowing detailed insights into the link between faulting and magmatism. The work in Krafla had direct relevance for our funded work in Afar, Ethiopia, where a similar sequence of events began in September 2005, and where the NERC ARSF acquired data in January 2008. The two data sets helped us determine how tectonic plates move apart and new crust grows.
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