Specialisation / Research Area
Being the largest subaerial part of the mid-ocean rift system, Iceland provides a unique setting for research spanning many fields of the geosciences. Crust-mantle processes within the North Atlantic mantle plume and rifting at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge make Iceland a target for various research related to the formation and evolution of the mid-oceanic rift system in addition to plume-ridge interactions. Climatic conditions and topographical features also make Iceland an attractive study-site for past and present glacial processes.
Excessive volcanism within the Iceland region is reflected in structurally and geochemically more complicated volcanic systems than along the mid-oceanic ridge system. Volcanic eruptions in the Iceland region occur within subaerial, submarine, subaqueous as well as subglacial environments. High-temperature geothermal energy, one of the prime resources of Iceland, is maintained by migration of magma forming shallow intrusions and crustal magma chambers within the central volcanoes.
Monitoring of seismic activity and mapping the crustal structure/magma chambers of active volcanic systems along the rift axes and near the center of the Iceland hot spot has greatly advanced our understanding of how volcanoes work. Modern day monitoring and surveying techniques, such as seismic imaging, refraction, reflection and multibeam draw on experience gained during the last 3 decades during seismic and volcanic crisis. At the same time the Icelandic nation is vulnerable to these natural hazards.