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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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 Clumped Isotopologues Reveal Methane’s Origins

New tools that detect heavier forms of methane with “clumped isotopologues” can indicate a gas sample’s source and the temperature when it formed. More studies, however, will be needed to tease apart the origins of methane that come from a mix of sources or that have undergone microbial degradation....

DCO Highlights 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Award Recipients Selected

DCO has selected two early career scientists as recipients of the 2018 Emerging Leader Awards....

DCO Research The Growth of Seafloor Carbonates in Deep Time

EarthByte researchers combined their model of plate tectonics with records of carbonate layers logged from cores collected during scientific ocean drilling expeditions. Together, these resources enabled them to estimate the growth and eventual recycling of carbonate deposits through subduction over the last 120 million years....

DCO Research New Estimate of Microbes Beneath the Continents

Researchers compiled hundreds of studies of the types and numbers of microbes living in the terrestrial subsurface and carefully scaled the results to come up with estimates of the total number and mass of microbes living beneath continents....

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.

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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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