The KMT is an unprecedented international undertaking, the first inner-space mission to explore the most extreme of the Earth’s crustal realms: magma. It will draw on many disciplines of engineering, sensor technology, and geoscience. Now is the time to seize upon the convergence of these multiple fields with this magma testbed. The project will illuminate how magma drives volcanic eruptions, contributes to crustal evolution and releases heat for geothermal energy. What is proposed is more than a drilling project, it is a cluster of coordinated, multidisciplinary efforts encompassing:
- borehole and sample observations, coupled with large-scale laboratory experiments
- linked borehole and surface geophysical and geochemical observations
- development of advanced ultra-high temperature geothermal energy technology
- sensor development for extreme environments
- advanced volcanic eruption forecasting
Repeated coring operations at multiple-year intervals will track changes in the system as the magma loses heat or receives new inputs. These activities will be supported through facilities at the surface to allow studies to be carried out on location. Experiments; university short courses on natural hazards and renewable energy; and training of professionals in volcano monitoring and geothermal energy can all take place at the volcano itself. Public education via eco-tourism and links to major natural history museums will also be established.