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 Methane Metabolism is Ancient and Widespread

By searching existing metagenomic data to find genes for a key methane metabolism enzyme, researchers identified new and diverse groups of archaea capable of producing or consuming methane. The finding suggests that methane metabolism likely evolved early in the rise of Archaea. ...

DCO Research Earthquakes Move Animals to the Deep

Researchers propose that seismic activity transports freshwater animals into the subsurface along fractures in the rock. This activity could explain the presence of nematodes and other small animals in water collected from South African mines....

DCO Research Simulating chemistry under extreme conditions

A new book edited by Nir Goldman covers several computational approaches to simulate a range of chemical reactions relevant to deep carbon science, from prebiotic chemistry that led to the origin of life to hydrocarbons under extreme temperatures and pressures....

DCO Research Gas Monitoring Warns of Wet Eruptions

DCO researchers used MultiGAS stations and flying drones to monitor gas emissions at Poás volcano in Costa Rica, a “wet” volcano that interacts with a hydrothermal system. They observed clear changes in gas emissions before a recent violent eruption, which may be useful for predicting future activity at Poás and other wet volcanoes. ...

DCO Highlights Goldschmidt 2019: Sessions of Special Interest to DCO

The 29th Goldschmidt Conference will take place at the Center Convencions Internacional Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain, from 18-23 August 2019....

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