If I use a really big drill and drill all the way down to a magma chamber what exactly would happen?

From what I understand we cant drill to a Magma Chamber because it is really hot, but I have a slight feeling something like shaking a soda and opening it may happen in a magma chamber due to the large amount of pressure that it is under.

  • $\begingroup$ Not sure about a definite answer, but I've read about some people that accidentally drilled into a magma chamber in Iceland and nothing happened $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Jan 16 '16 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ It would depend on how much pressure is within the magma. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Jan 16 '16 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred and on the type of magma. A volatile rich rhyolitic magma is explosive, whereas a dry basaltic magma is not. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Jan 16 '16 at 10:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael it did indeed happen. So they attempted to harness it for a geothermal heat station. IIRC they melted a few drill bits and other pieces in the process. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Jan 16 '16 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ Here is a link to Iceland article, evidently third time drilling has hit magma (as of 2009). phys.org/news/2009-06-scientists-drill-magma.html $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Jan 16 '16 at 23:21

You might get a lava seepage, but I doubt it. The cross-sectional area of a borehole is small compared to the total cross sectional area of fractures that are there already. Note that volcanoes bulge quite markedly due to lava up-welling and deformation due to magma pressure, so the volcano is invariably well fractured. A small hole is likely to fill up with magma rapidly, which would cool and solidify against the country rock, thereby plugging the hole - unless the borehole was very close to a gassy magma chamber. However, there might be exceptions in that very small fraction of volcanoes that are of the 'Plinian' type, in which exceptionally high gas pressures can occur. But then, nobody in their right mind would drill into a potentially Plinian type of volcano!


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