Scientists from Cambridge University and NTU Singapore have discovered that slow-moving collisions of tectonic plates pull more carbon into the Earth’s interior.
They found that carbon was brought into the Earth’s interior in subduction zones. The carbon then tends to be “locked-in” to the depths, rather than regenerating. The findings show that only about a third of the carbon is recycled back to the surface.
One of the solutions to deal with climate change is to find ways to reduce the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. By studying how carbon works in the ground, scientists can better understand the entire life cycle of carbon on Earth. Also, learn about how carbon moves between the atmosphere, oceans, and life on the surface.
Deep carbonaceous regions play an important role in maintaining our planet’s habitability, by regulating atmospheric CO2 levels.
“We currently have a relatively good understanding of surface carbon sources and the flows between them,” said Stefan Farsang, lead author of the study, now from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences. But we know less about the carbon stores inside the Earth.”
There are several ways for carbon to be released back into the atmosphere (as CO2). However, there is only one way for it to return to Earth’s interior, and that is through the subduction zone. New research reveals that chemical reactions taking place in rocks at subduction zones will send carbon deeper into the Earth’s interior.
“There is still a lot of research to be done in this area. In the future, we aim to refine our estimates by studying the solubility of carbonates over a wider range of temperatures and pressures, and in some liquid compositions,” said researcher Farsang. said.
These findings are thought to be important for understanding the role of carbonate formation in the climate system as a whole. According to the team, this result shows that these minerals are very stable and can certainly lock CO2 from the atmosphere into a solid mineral form. From there, it can lead to negative emissions.
The team looked at using similar methods for carbon capture. This method transfers atmospheric CO2 into storage in rocks and oceans.
“These results will also help us understand better ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. If we can accelerate this process faster than nature can handle, it could prove a way to help solve the climate crisis,” Redfern said.