Welcome to the Deep Carbon Observatory

A global community of more than 1000 scientists on a ten-year quest to understand the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon inside Earth.

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This carbonated peridotite from the Sultanate of Oman underwent partial melting ~96 million years ago in Earth’s shallow mantle beneath a submarine, volcanic spreading center, where magma formed new oceanic crust. A full sequence of newly formed crust and upper mantle was then emplaced on the Arabian continental margin, where it now forms Oman’s Al Hajar Mountains. The mantle peridotite is now undergoing subaerial weathering, taking up water to form hydrous minerals like serpentine, and absorbing CO2 to form the network of white carbonate veins you see in this sample. Most of the carbonate veins formed during the last 50,000 years. Credit Bernard Marty.

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Learn more about DCO's integrative approach, which emphasizes cross-disciplinary research activities in data science, instrumentation, field studies, and modeling and visualization, or discover deep carbon research by exploring DCO books, special issues, and journal articles.

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Extreme Physics and Chemistry Dedicated to improving our understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of carbon at extreme conditions, as found in the deep interiors of Earth and other planets.
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Reservoirs and Fluxes Dedicated to identifying deep carbon reservoirs, determining how carbon moves among these reservoirs, and assessing Earth’s total carbon budget.
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Deep Energy Dedicated to understanding the volume and rates of abiogenic hydrocarbons and other organic species in the crust and mantle through geological time.
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Deep Life Dedicated to assessing the nature and extent of the deep microbial and viral biosphere.

DCO Research Old Microbes Produce Methane in Mud Volcanoes

Just off the coast of the continents, thousands of mud volcanoes are erupting from the seafloor, spouting methane and ancient sediments. Previous stud...

DCO Research Volcanic Degassing Refuses to Follow Rules of Equilibrium

A big part of understanding how much carbon Earth holds beneath its surface relies on measuring how much carbon escapes through volcanoes on land, and...

DCO Research Large Igneous Provinces are a Source and Sink for CO2

About 250 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption flooded modern-day Siberia with lava, creating the Siberian Traps, giant plateaus made of mul...

DCO Research Pyroxenites Put Brakes on Mantle Melting

Pyroxenites are a type of rock created when parts of Earth’s crust are injected deep in the mantle and experience repeated cycles of intense heat and ...

DCO Highlights New Estimate of Global Carbon Degassing

Twenty-eight DCO members came together from 29 April – 4 May, 2018 at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC to calculate a new estima...

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