Despite the growing climate crisis, it might be safe to say that this new finding gives quite a relief, although it does not ultimately mean we are spared.
Scientists just found that there may be a discrepancy on climate change equation in terms of the amount of carbon emission in Earth's atmosphere that was previously known to have been reappearing through volcanic eruptions.
New research suggests that the Earth is swallowing around a third of carbon wrapped into Earth's interior for good. Here's what you need to know about the updated findings:
The Earth's interior has been storing carbon for over millions of years
In order to monitor the knock-on effects of carbon and habitability on the Earth's surface, scientists from around the world have been studying carbon stores where most of our planet's carbon is located and their evolution.
In a recent study led by materials scientist Stefan Farsang, from the University of Cambridge in the UK, findings suggest that the only way the Earth's interior stores carbon is when it "gets pulled deep into Earth via plate subduction."
"We currently have a relatively good understanding of the surface reservoirs of carbon and the fluxes between them, but know much less about Earth's interior carbon stores, which cycle carbon over millions of years," said Farsang.
Using the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility particle accelerator, the researchers simulated the chemical reactions that occurs in the tectonic plate rock, which contains the carbon-storing remains of organisms and seashells into the ground in the process of plate subduction, or the collision and warping of tectonic plates.
Their simulation will provide them with a model of the Earth's interior along with its intense pressure and super-high temperatures of subduction zones. The team found that the CO2 from the atmosphere was indeed locked permanently in solid mineral forms, and can even turn into a diamond.
These minerals can help solve climate crisis
After further testing, researchers confirm that minerals found in carbonate rocks are stable enough to lock carbon into the solid Earth. Instead of being drawn into fluids supplying volcanoes, these rocks become less calcium-rich and more magnesium-rich, where majority of the carbonate sank deeper into the mantle can apparently turn into diamond.
Scientists are currently looking into ways how this finding can be 'accelerated artificially' in the future.
"These results will also help us understand better ways to lock carbon into the solid Earth, out of the atmosphere. If we can accelerate this process faster than nature handles it, it could prove a route to help solve the climate crisis," said mineral physicist Simon Redfern, from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.
Carbons emitted in the atmosphere are typically stored in soils and oceans, but is apparently "far from enough to save our rapidly warming planet from a climate crisis", especially that reducing emissions is a global effort.
Scientists believe that carbon cycle happening in atmosphere, oceans and Earth's interior should be understood better to be made useful in plotting a future course.
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