First Discovery of Magma in Its Natural State Made While Drilling Geothermal Power Well
Geothermal power developer Ormat Technologies while drilling a well on the Big Island of Hawaii accidentally came across a first for science: The first time magma was found in its natural environment and not being ejected from a volcano. Though the magma has no direct commercial use for Ormat, the temperature of the rock surrounding it could be ideal for geothermal energy use.
Here’s the series of events that led to the discovery,
Ormat, based in Reno, Nev., began drilling the fateful well at is Puna Geothermal Venture field and power plant in eastern Big Island in 2005. After digging 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) deep, workers noticed something unexpected emerging from the well, said William Peplow, a consultant geologist for the drilling project, at the [American Geophysical Union] meeting.
The temperature of the magma reached 1050 Centigrade, but it cooled into clear glass when it rose about 8 meters (26 feet), thanks to the cold drilling fluid being pumped into the well as part of the drilling process. (Greentech Media)
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