Next time you walk outside, say a little thank you to the ground beneath your feet. It is storing far more carbon than we previously knew. Carbon is stored in all living beings, but work by the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) has revealed that 90% of our planet’s carbon is stored underground.
Processes of tectonic subduction (where tectonic plates submerge under one another) push massive amounts of carbon into the depths of our planet. Unfortunately, mining, oil drilling, and other processes unearth this carbon for human use, contributing to climate change.
Luckily, this discovery of rock’s role in carbon storage means new avenues for climate change mitigation. Rock slabs, called ophiolites, are found all over the world and are immensely effective for absorbing carbon. Therefore, pushing carbon-rich fluids into ophiolite rock formations could potentially remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.
The inner depths of our planet are highly mysterious. This new research shows how truly interconnected our geosphere and biosphere are and how one of the critical solutions to saving our planet may reside deep in the very ground we walk on.