Underwater and drone based photogrammetry reveals structural control at Geysir geothermal field in Iceland

Thomas R. Walter*, Philippe Jousset, Masoud Allahbakhshi, Tanja Witt, Magnus T. Gudmundsson, Gylfi Páll Hersir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Geysers are local hydrothermal vents with periodic gas bubble driven explosions at the surface. Little is known, however, on the control on distribution, the dynamics and the geometry of the conduits of geysers. To better understand the link between the deep and surface expression at the Geysir geothermal field, Iceland, a detailed analysis of the spatial distribution of the thermal expressions, and their relationship to the tectonic framework was carried out. By use of high resolution unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) based optical and radiometric infrared cameras, we are able to identify 364 distinct thermal spots distributed over the area. Close analysis of their arrangement yields a clustered appearance, following a preferred direction that is found to be consistent with the assumed tectonic trend in the area. Furthermore by using underwater cameras we are able to obtain for the first time detailed images from the two largest geysers at depths exceeding 20 m. Near to the surface, the conduit of the geysers are near circular, but at a depth of 9–12 m the shape changes into a crack-like elongated fissure. The elongation direction of these deep cracks is consistent with the identified thermal expression at the surface, highlighting a structural or even tectonic control at the Geysir geothermal field, which may also explain the susceptibility for seismically triggered activity changes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106282
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

Other keywords

  • Drone monitoring
  • Geysir
  • Geysir geothermal field
  • Hydrothermal eruption
  • Strokkur
  • Volcano earthquake interaction


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