Exploration of processes of the hydrological cycle is important for understanding global climate, changes in the cryosphere, transport rates of chemicals in the hydrosphere and the biosphere. The isotopic and chemical composition of water acts as tracers of the age and flow of ground- and geothermal water, and glacier ice carries a record of past climate changes. Frequent volcanic eruptions necessitate studies of the effects of volcanoes on the chemistry of natural waters and the formation of volcanogenic metalliferous deposits. Iceland’s uniform surface lithology provides a unique site to study processes of chemical weathering, dissolution rates of minerals and volcanic glasses. This applies to chemical weathering of Ca-Mg silicates of basaltic rock that affects long-term atmospheric CO2 content; moreover, to technological approach to identify and evaluate CO2 sequestration pathways: Current research is focused on carbon capture and storage in the fast-weathering basalt of Iceland.
Exploitation of geothermal resources requires studies of basic geothermal fluid chemistry, in particular mineral-fluid equilibrium conditions, kinetics of silica polymerization, mineral solubilities and hydrolysis constants for ferric iron, development of geothermometers and assessment of the response of geothermal systems to production load. Some of these studies make significant contributions to metamorphic petrology and volcanology, such as degassing of intrusive magma bodies and metal transport in the crust.
· CO2 budget andfluxes in terrestrial eco-systems (vegetation, soil, rivers, lakes), present and past
· CO2 fixationin basalt
· Chemical weathering
· Water pollution (surface water, groundwater, geothermal water)
· The influence of major eruptions in the past on global climate