Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ocean crust could store many centuries of industrial carbon dioxide

Date:
December 4, 2013
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
Researchers have identified regions beneath the oceans where the igneous rocks of the upper ocean crust could safely store very large volumes of carbon dioxide. The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas has led to dramatically increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere causing climate change and ocean acidification. Although technologies are being developed to capture CO2 at major sources such as power stations, this will only avoid further warming if that CO2 is then safely locked away from the atmosphere for centuries.

Power plant. Although technologies are being developed to capture CO2 at major sources such as power stations, this will only avoid further warming if that CO2 is then safely locked away from the atmosphere for centuries.
Credit: JeremyWhat / Fotolia

Researchers from the University of Southampton have identified regions beneath the oceans where the igneous rocks of the upper ocean crust could safely store very large volumes of carbon dioxide.

The burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas has led to dramatically increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere causing climate change and ocean acidification. Although technologies are being developed to capture CO2 at major sources such as power stations, this will only avoid further warming if that CO2 is then safely locked away from the atmosphere for centuries.

PhD student Chiara Marieni, who is based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, investigated the physical properties of CO2 to develop global maps of the ocean floor to estimate where CO2 can be safely stored.

At high pressures and low temperatures, such as those in the deep oceans, CO2 occurs as a liquid that is denser than seawater. By estimating temperatures in the upper ocean crust, Chiara and her colleagues identified regions where it may be possible to stably store large volumes of CO2 in the basalts. These fractured rocks have high proportions of open space, and over time may also react with the CO2 so that it is locked into solid calcium carbonate, permanently preventing its release into the oceans or atmosphere. As a precaution, Chiara refined her locations to areas that have the additional protection of thick blankets of impermeable sediments to prevent gas escape.

They identified five potential regions in off-shore Australia, Japan, Siberia, South Africa and Bermuda, ranging in size from million square kilometres to almost four million square kilometres.

Postgraduate researcher Chiara says: "We have found regions that have the potential to store decades to hundreds of years of industrial carbon dioxide emissions although the largest regions are far off shore. However, further work is needed in these regions to accurately measure local sediment conditions and sample the basalt beneath before this potential can be confirmed."

The new work, which is published in Geophysical Research Letters, shows that previous studies, which concentrated on the effect of pressure to liquefy the CO2 but ignored temperature, have pointed to the wrong locations, where high temperatures mean that the CO2 will have a low density, and thus be more likely to escape.

Funding for this research was provided by the University of Southampton Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chiara Marieni, Timothy J. Henstock, Damon A. H. Teagle. Geological storage of CO2within the oceanic crust by gravitational trapping. Geophysical Research Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/2013GL058220

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Ocean crust could store many centuries of industrial carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204091142.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2013, December 4). Ocean crust could store many centuries of industrial carbon dioxide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204091142.htm
University of Southampton. "Ocean crust could store many centuries of industrial carbon dioxide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131204091142.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins