The last time anyone in Iceland tried to drill this deep they ran into trouble. In 2009, Iceland’s Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) hit a snag a little over two kilometres down. The drill bit kept getting stuck. The team had already used explosives to sever the line connecting the drill to the surface. Another time they poured in hydrochloric acid to free it from the rock they thought must be trapping it. But they were making little headway.
When tiny shards of volcanic glass started flowing up the borehole everything became clear. The drill had not just got stuck in a tough layer of rock – they were drilling into a chamber of magma. It soon damaged the drilling equipment and the borehole collapsed.