DCO Project Summary

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Project Title
Microbial Diversity and Carbon Cycling in Deep Subsurface Basalts Targeted for Geologic Carbon Sequestration
Start DateEnd Date
2011-01-01 2013-12-31
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Large igneous provinces (LIPs) are being examined as potential geological storage sites for carbon dioxide in an attempt to sequester CO2 away from the atmosphere to alleviate temperature increases due to climate change. The Wallula pilot well, the location of a geologic carbon sequestration project in eastern Washington State and located in the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG), provides a window to the subsurface where the microbial diversity of these geologically important regions can be explored. In addition, the well provides insight into the microbial communities present in the basalts that could play a role in carbon cycling in the deep subsurface where supercritical CO2 (scCO2) is injected. Analyzing samples from the CRBG using deep DNA sequencing technology will further the understanding of the unique microbial diversity of the subsurface, especially with respect to community composition of LIPs and different microbes present in different formations. Pyrosequencing will also establish an important baseline for understanding the microbial communities in the aquifers of the Wallula pilot well prior to the injection of scCO2. These communities will certainly change following the injection and pyrosequencing could play a critical role in the analysis of the samples obtained after the injection of scCO2 into the system. The high resolution associated with deep sequencing technology would allow the detection of shifts in the diversity of the microbial communities.

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Reporting Year 2014 Click to expand

  • RY2014-1 - submitted on Aug 31, 2014

    Update Details:

    Detection of Bacteria and Archaea in deep a basalt aquifer slated for experimental injection of supercritical CO2 as a means to sequester carbon underground (Lavalleur and Colwell 2013).


    H.J. Lavalleur, F.S. Colwell, Microbial characterization of basalt formation waters targeted for geological carbon sequestration. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 85, 62-73 (2013).

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