|The ICDP Executive Committee in Kiruna, northern Sweden|
The UK is a member of the ICDP and this enables consortiums of geoscientists from the UK (in collaboration with other member countries) to apply for funding to deep drill the Earth through many kilometres of sediments and rocks in order to get cores of pristine material for scientific study (take a look at the ICDP website for more information on current projects). There are many reasons we want to take long cores through the Earth and like many applications we assessed in Kiruna, they often involve assessing natural hazards including volcanos and earthquakes, natural resources and understanding palaeoclimate. Both pre-drilling workshop proposals and full drilling proposals were assessed at the meeting and the outcomes will be published on the ICDP website in the coming weeks.
As part of the meeting the ICDP committee also visited the Kiruna state mine (owned by LKAB), the largest underground iron ore mine in the world. The mine has an annual production capacity of over 26 million tonnes of iron ore. The Kiruna ore body may have been formed from volcanic activity where iron precipitated into a syenite porphyry rock and was then tilted to 50 – 60°. Currently the iron is mined at a depth of over a kilometre.
|From L-R: View of one of the underground tunnels (lit with blue lights) at Kiruna; Kiruna mine from the surface; some|
raw megnetite (iron) ore and the processed iron pellets
For more information, please contact Melanie Leng