The results of this study will help understand better ways to artificially accelerate the process of locking carbon in solid Earth, outside the atmosphere, explained Simon Redfern, a physicist involved in the research.
According to the article, the identified tectonic process is known as subduction and consists of the immersion of one tectonic plate under the edge of another.
The sunken part is generally formed by oceanic crust (thinner than the continental one) and with it drags stones and the remains of marine organisms that contain carbon to the interior of the planet.
Until now, it was thought that most of this element returned to the atmosphere through volcanic eruptions, but according to the document, this is the case with only a third of the carbon, while the rest remains locked up.
The researchers discovered that carbonate rocks when they travel deep in the Earth’s mantle go through a process of chemical transformation, which makes the carbonate less soluble, and does not allow it to be absorbed by the fluids that supply volcanoes.
‘Our findings show that these minerals can indeed lock CO2 from the atmosphere in solid forms, rather than result in negative emissions,’ Redfern said.