UCL News


UCL podcast: Dr Christopher Kilburn on drilling into a volcano

6 October 2009


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  • UCL Earth Sciences on Campi Flegrei Drilling Project
  • Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre
  • UCL Rock & Ice Physics Laboratory
  • Vesuvius Observatory
  • Dr Christopher Kilburn (UCL Earth Sciences) is part of a team preparing to drill into the heart of an active volcano in Italy.

    UCL Earth Sciences is a lead member of the project, which involves drilling a borehole to a depth of 4km at Campi Flegrei, a volcanic caldera west of Naples.

    The borehole will allow geophysical and geochemical sensors to be deployed to new depths, while rocks recovered from the drilling will help define the physical properties of the caldera.

    Click on the player below to hear Dr Kilburn discuss the project in detail

    The results will provide essential information for reducing the volcanic risk to Campi Flegrei's population of more than one million people.

    The project team, which is due to start drilling in 2010, also hopes to explore the caldera's potential as a source of geothermal energy.

    Here Dr Kilburn talks about the history of Campi Flegrei, the technical challenge of drilling into a volcano and the unique expertise UCL Earth Sciences brings to the project.

    Image: main picture: Naples, the blue-green expanse at the top centre of the image, is flanked by active volcanoes - the mountain of Vesuvius to the East and the Campi Flegrei caldera to the West; inset: an aerial view looking northwest over the port of Pozzuoli, which shows the proposed drilling site along the coast on the right of the picture (Photo courtesy of INGV-Vesuvius Observatory)