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.

About this image
About this image close
About Image

These archaea, Altiarchaeales, were originally found living in sulfidic springs in Germany. Scientists collected water samples from a 30m-deep borehole, however the cells they analyzed could be living at much greater depths. Each cell is surrounded by a fuzzy coat of “hami,” hair-like appendages with “grappling hooks” at the end and barb-wire-like prickles along their length. These surface structures help the cells stick to surfaces. Image courtesy of Christine Moissl-Eichinger (Medical University of Graz, Austria), colorized to enhance the forms.

Read more about the unusual life forms living in deep Earth:
Life in Deep Earth Totals 15 to 23 Billion Tonnes of Carbon—Hundreds of Times More than Humans

DCO Research ‘Glassy’ Ice is Experimental Side Effect

At high pressures and low temperature, water can form amorphous ice – a non-crystallized ‘glass-like’ solid that researchers had thought was related to supercooled water. New research, however, shows that amorphous ice occurs when ice gets stuck in an intermediate form in between two crystal structures. ...

DCO Research Many more viruses revealed below the seafloor

Researchers at JAMSTEC have developed a new method to extract viruses from deep-sea sediments, yielding up to hundreds of times more virus particles than former techniques. The improved method suggests that there are many more viruses below the seafloor than previously detected. ...

DCO Research Keeping Tabs on Methane-Eating Microbes

Anaerobic methanotrophs are a group of microbes that consume methane and live a low-energy lifestyle in oxygen-free environments. A new study shows that measuring the ratio of rare isotopes of methane from marine sediments is a useful tool for tracking their activities, which previously have been hard to distinguish from those of microbes that make methane....

DCO Highlights Earth 4D: Water, Life, and Space through Time

DCO collaborator Barbara Sherwood Lollar and fellow program director Jack Mustard have launched Earth 4D – Subsurface Science and Exploration, a five-year project supported by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Scientists involved in the initiative will explore interactions between the surface and subsurface on Earth, the distribution of groundwater and other resources, and how the subsurface sustains life on Earth, with implications for the exploration of other planets. ...

DCO Highlights 2019 DCO Emerging Leader Award Nominations

The Deep Carbon Observatory invites all members of the DCO community to submit nominations for the 2019 DCO Emerging Leader Awards. ...

Discover

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.

image description
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.
image description
Reservoirs and Fluxes Dedicated to identifying deep carbon reservoirs, determining how carbon moves among these reservoirs, and assessing Earth’s total carbon budget.
image description
Deep Energy Dedicated to understanding the volume and rates of abiogenic hydrocarbons and other organic species in the crust and mantle through geological time.
image description
Deep Life Dedicated to assessing the nature and extent of the deep microbial and viral biosphere.
Back to top