A large borehole in the island of Surtsey collapsed yesterday after drilling over 150 meters (492 feet) into the earth, only 50 meters (164 feet) shy of its 200 meters (656 feet) goal.
The operation, which is being overseen by a team of international scientists, has the goal of building a one-of-a-kind laboratory for use over the next decades, in order to research the unique island and how it has changed since its formation. This is done by drilling two holes into the earth, with hopes of using one of them as the laboratory.
According to a post on the team’s Facebook page, there are still hopes of finishing both holes. Drilling has already begun on the second hole, which should be able to reach at least approximately 170 to 180 meters (557-590 feet) within a few days.
Surtsey is a recently formed volcanic island which rose from the sea in 1963, close to Westman Islands located near South Iceland. The small 1.4 km2 (0.54 sq mi) island has been a site for the study of geology and bio-colonization, as only a few scientists are allowed on the island at a time in order to see how plant life colonizes the land.