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Thu Apr 25, 2019, 12:15 PM

Major Deep Carbon Sink Linked to Microbes Found Near Volcano Chains

https://news.rutgers.edu/major-deep-carbon-sink-linked-microbes-found-near-volcano-chains/20190423#.XMHotqZ7nvx
Major Deep Carbon Sink Linked to Microbes Found Near Volcano Chains

Rutgers and other scientists show how microbes help store millions of tons of carbon dioxide

April 22, 2019

Up to about 19 percent more carbon dioxide than previously believed is removed naturally and stored underground between coastal trenches and inland chains of volcanoes, keeping the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere, according to a study in the journal Nature.

Surprisingly, subsurface microbes play a role in storing vast amounts of carbon by incorporating it in their biomass and possibly by helping to form calcite, a mineral made of calcium carbonate, Rutgers and other scientists found. Greater knowledge of the long-term impact of volcanoes on carbon dioxide and how it may be buffered by chemical and biological processes is critical for evaluating natural and human impacts on the climate. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas linked to global warming.



The Earth’s core, mantle and crust account for 90 percent of carbon. The other 10 percent is in the ocean, biosphere and atmosphere. The subduction zone connects the Earth’s surface with its interior, and knowing how carbon moves between them is important in understanding one of the key processes on Earth and regulating the climate over tens of millions of years.

The study focused on the Nicoya Peninsula area of Costa Rica. The scientists investigated the area between the trench and the volcanic arc – the so-called forearc. The research reveals that volcanic forearc are a previously unrecognized deep sink for carbon dioxide.


How carbon is cycled near volcano chains.

Image: Patricia Barcala Dominguez


https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1131-5

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