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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Gases from Manam volcano blend with low clouds in this image captured by one of the drones from the DCO ABOVE expedition.

DCO ABOVE (Aerial-based Observations of Volcanic Emissions) is a project to explore volcanic emissions in Papua New Guinea using cutting-edge drone technologies. Led by Emma Liu of the University of Cambridge, UK, the expedition will see an international team of scientists collaborating with local volcano observatories to investigate these strongly degassing volcanoes. Read more about part one of the project here.

DCO Highlights VIDEO: Karen Lloyd TED Talk, April 2019

Microbiologist Karen Lloyd takes us on a trip to the volcanoes and hot springs of Costa Rica, shining a light on subterranean organisms and how they could have a profound impact on life at Earth's surface....

DCO Research Ocean Crust Recycling Began in First Billion Years

An analysis of bits of magma inside olivine crystals from 3.3 billion-year-old rocks suggests that ocean crust was already being recycled back into the subsurface then. The discovery points to an earlier-than-expected start date for subduction, or a similar process, that brought surface water into the mantle....

DCO Research Archaea Are Winning In Oxic Sediments

Highly efficient archaea, called Thaumarchaea, out-survive bacteria in the energy-poor, oxygen-containing sediments beneath the deep sea. These Thaumarchaea consume bits of proteins from dead cells to build their own biomass and also to obtain energy....

DCO Highlights New Book Sings Carbon’s Praises

Just in time for the “Year of Carbon,” DCO Executive Director Robert Hazen has published a sweeping history of carbon: Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything....

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.

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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.
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