Geothermal Surface Exploration in Iceland

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Conference Paper: Geothermal Surface Exploration in Iceland


The paper describes in a general way what kind of surface studies are carried out in Iceland in exploration of our geothermal high temperature fields. It is outlined what is required to engage in a complete exploration work in a new greenfield geothermal resource area. At present, this is usually what is needed to fulfill the requirements to apply for, or receive, exploitation rights in a geothermal area.

The aim of the work is based on three main components.

  • The recognition of possible geothermal resources to develop.
  • The geo-scientific work needed to estimate its size and potential.
  • The project development work needed to be able to carry out the exploration, plan for the exploitation and estimate it’s feasibility.

The recognition of a geothermal resource starts with a reconnaissance study. This is a project area assessment and the purpose is to collect as much information and scientific data as possible that is already available, regarding the geothermal resource. Usually this will result in the ranking of the area compared to other areas and first estimation of which areas are more promising than others.

The objectives of the geo-scientific work mainly consists of identifying the main geothermal reservoir and roughly estimating the size, reservoir temperature, energy potential and accessibility and putting forward a preliminary conceptual model. The area(s) that are deemed interesting will get to the next stage where the “run of the mill” geoscientific research will be carried out. This stage is done through a series of different research methods.

The project development work will address technical, physical, environmental and economical factors connected to the expected utilization of the resource. One of the main outcomes of this work is a road map for the development of geothermal power, which can be a platform to put forward a strategy in the development of geothermal energy.

Bjarni Richter, Benedikt Steingrímsson, Magnús Ólafsson and Ragna Karlsdóttir

World Geothermal Congress; Bali, Indonesia; 2010/04/25

International Geothermal Association, 2010

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Internet link for Geothermal Surface Exploration in Iceland


Bjarni Richter, Benedikt Steingrímsson, Magnús Ólafsson, Ragna Karlsdóttir. 2010. Geothermal Surface Exploration in Iceland. In: Proceedings. World Geothermal Congress; 2010/04/25; Bali, Indonesia. Bali, Indonesia: International Geothermal Association; p. 6