Geothermal Forest in South Iceland Garners Interest

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Geothermal Forest in South Iceland Garners Interest

One of the consequences of the earthquakes which hit south Iceland in May 2008 were significant changes to the distribution of geothermal heat in the area around the work center of the Agricultural University of Iceland at Reykir in Ölfus.

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An Icelandic forest. Archive photo by ESA.

This caused the ground below a 45-year-old sitka spruce forest to heat up, which until then had grown in regular cold Icelandic soil, as stated on the website of the Iceland Forest Service.

The heat below the forest ranges from a little more than 0°C (32°F) where the geothermal energy sources lie deep underground to 50°C (122°F) at the shallowest locations.

There are no known studies of the impact of increasing geothermal heat in a spruce forest and therefore a priority scientific project was launched by the university and the forestation research center at Mógilsá last autumn.

Their goal is to establish an international research project in the field of soil and forest ecology in the geothermal forest.

Now, a few months after the project was first presented abroad, it has 19 formal participants from five Icelandic universities and laboratories and five foreign universities.

Click here to read more about the effect of the south Iceland earthquakes.

ESA