A co-author of the new study said that carbonate minerals are “very stable and can certainly lock up CO2 from the atmosphere into solid mineral forms that could result in negative emissions.”
Researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Nanyang Techological University in Singapore have established that at so-called subduction zones – areas where tectonic plates collide – a lot more carbon that gets drawn into Earth’s depths at these points ends up staying below the surface for longer than previously thought.
The new study postulates that “only about a third of the carbon recycled beneath volcanic chains returns to the surface via recycling,” as SciTechDaily puts it.
As the media outlet points out, scientists thought that much of the carbon that gets channeled into our planets interior at subduction zones – in the form of seashells of microorganisms that “have locked atmospheric CO2,” for example – ends up getting expelled back into the atmosphere via volcanic emissions.
Simon Redfern, dean of the College of Science at NTU Singapore and co-author of the study, said the results show that carbonate minerals are “very stable and can certainly lock up CO2 from the atmosphere into solid mineral forms that could result in negative emissions.”