The Earth's Interior Is Sucking Up Huge Amounts of Carbon, Scientists Say

The Earth's interior holds far more carbon than we thought.Big SuckAccording to new research, our planet is absorbing far more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we thought.Although we are not yet out of the woods, the research could allow us to make more accurate projections regarding a rapidly changing climate and provide clues as to how to artificially remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and keep it below the surface of the planets.The Carbon CycleThe theory is that the majority, if not all, of the carbon that is being subducted beneath the surface at these subduction areas eventually gets released as volcanic emissions.The new study published in Nature Communications this month shows that the Earth's interior only releases about a third the carbon it absorbs below the area where one tectonic plates is pushed beneath another. These are the areas where volcanoes can form, which often release large amounts of the carbon.AdvertisementAdvertisementThis means that the Earth's interior is absorbing significant amounts of carbon, a process known as plate subduction. It does not spit it out again as part the planets carbon cycle.In a statement, Stefan Farsang (a PhD student at Cambridge University in England) said that while we have a good understanding of the carbon reservoirs on the surface and their fluxes, we know very little about the Earth's interior carbon stores. These carbon stores cycle carbon over many millions of years.Making DiamondsFarsang and his colleagues simulated chemical reactions in the tectonic plates rock. These reactions in subduction zones can trap most of the carbon and send it deeper into the planet's interior.This research confirms that rocks can become magnesium richer as they are pushed deeper. The carbonate becomes less soluble, and is less likely to be deposited in volcanic flows. At sufficient pressure, these rocks can become diamonds.AdvertisementAdvertisementAlthough we cannot rely solely on the carbon cycle to reverse climate change, it may teach us how to capture at least some of that carbon.These results will also allow us to understand better how carbon can be locked into the solid Earth from the atmosphere, according to Simon Redfern (Dean of the College of Science at NTU Singapore), in the statement. This could be a way to solve the climate crisis if we can speed up this process more quickly than nature.READ MORE: Deep within the Earth, a Hidden Process Is Consuming More Carbon Than We Thought [Science Alert]Experts say Feral Hogs are a major contributor to climate changeAdvertisementAdvertisement