Frontiers Special Collection Engages Broader Deep Carbon Community

A special collection on Deep Carbon Science in the journal Frontiers features a range of new geochemical, geodynamic, and microbial discoveries. More than 100 scientists from within and beyond the DCO community contributed to the collection, which also highlights the work of many early to mid-career scientists.

In a new special collection on Deep Carbon Science in the online journal Frontiers, deep carbon researchers within and beyond the DCO community had the opportunity to contribute findings from their work on the slow, deep carbon cycle [1]. DCO members from all four research communities edited the collection, including Isabelle Daniel (Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France), Sabin Zahirovic (University of Sydney, Australia), Dan Bower (University of Bern, Switzerland), Artur Ionescu (Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania), Mattia Pistone (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland), Sami Mikhail (University of St. Andrews, UK), and Dawn Cardace (University of Rhode Island, USA). 

“DCO has been beneficial for the entire community and has stimulated a lot of research activities around the world on carbon within the deep Earth,” said Daniel. “This collection gives an opportunity to the larger community to participate in the synthesis activities of the DCO.”

The special collection includes research spanning the four DCO research areas, and once complete, will have at least 20 new papers. Ultimately the collection will feature contributions from more than 100 authors, many of whom are early-career scientists. With such diverse contributors, the collection complements other DCO synthesis products, such as the Deep Carbon: Past to Present book and the Nature Deep Carbon Collection, written by other DCO-affiliated scientists.

Frontiers readers
More than 30,000 researchers from around the world have viewed the open-access Deep Carbon Science collection in Frontiers. Credit: Frontiers

Among the many notable contributions in the collection is a paper published posthumously by Louise Kellogg (University of California, Davis, USA) and colleagues. They demonstrate the importance of the crust as a reservoir for storing atmospheric carbon dioxide that dissolves into rainwater, which is a factor frequently overlooked in climate modeling. They also use a previous warm period, the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) to show how elevated temperatures sped up the rate of carbon storage.

The structure of carbon compounds in the mantle is an important topic touched on by several papers in the collection. One recent major advance is the discovery that in the deepest parts of Earth, carbon and oxygen shift from the familiar carbonate structure of a carbon atom bonded to three oxygen atoms, to a tetrahedral structure with four oxygen atoms. A paper by Chrystèle Sanloup (IMPMC, Sorbonne Université, France) and colleagues shows that these melted tetrahedral carbonates react poorly with silicates, which may help carbon compounds persist and move within the deep mantle. Sudeshna Basu (University College London, UK) et al. also found that shale holds onto its carbon as it sinks and heats up, especially if that carbon has been biomineralized, such as the carbon in seashells.

Additionally, Philip Eickenbusch (ETH Zürich, Switzerland) and colleagues discovered that organic acids found in mud volcanoes in the Mariana Trench come from serpentinization reactions between water and certain rocks, rather than from microbes, as had been thought previously.

A paper by Kevin Wong (University of Leeds, United Kingdom) and collaborators looks at how much carbon enters the mantle in different settings where tectonic plates meet or split open. They find that more carbon has degassed from the mantle during the past 200 million years than has entered due to subduction, but that there is still uncertainty regarding how much carbon is stored in the crust and how much escapes through continental rifts.

All the papers in the collection are open access so that they can be read and shared freely by scientists everywhere. The papers in the collection already have amassed more than 31,000 views from readers from six continents.

“The collection has really engaged our colleagues outside of DCO and enabled them to be a part of this major endeavor,” said Daniel, “and that’s been really fantastic.”

Table of contents

Click on the titles below to access the papers.

Stability of Organic Carbon Components in Shale: Implications for Carbon Cycle Basu S, Verchovsky AB, Bogush A, Jones AP, Jourdan A-L
On the Role of the Urey Reaction in Extracting Carbon From the Earth's Atmosphere and Adding It to the Continental Crust Kellogg LH, Turcotte DL, Lokavarapu H
Wetting behavior of iron-carbon melt in silicates at mid-mantle pressures with implications for Earth's deep carbon cycle Dong J, Li J, Zhu F
Understanding degassing pathways along the 1886 Tarawera (New Zealand) volcanic fissure by combining soil and lake CO2 fluxes

Hughes EC, Mazot A, Kilgour G, Asher C, Michelini M, Britten K, Chardot L, Feisel Y, Werner C

Deep carbon cycling over the past 200 million years: a review of fluxes in different tectonic settings Wong K, Mason E, Brune S, East M, Edmonds M, Zahirovic S
Exploring the Deep Marine Biosphere: Challenges, Innovations, and Opportunities Cario A, Oliver GC, Rogers KL
Ecology of Subseafloor Crustal Biofilms Ramírez GA, Garber AI, Lecoeuvre A, D’Angelo T, Wheat CG, Orcutt BN
Establishment of the Deep Mine Microbial Observatory (DeMMO), South Dakota, USA, a Geochemically Stable Portal Into the Deep Subsurface Osburn MR, Kruger B, Masterson AL, Casar CP, Amend JP
Origin of Short-Chain Organic Acids in Serpentinite Mud Volcanoes of the Mariana Convergent Margin Eickenbusch P, Takai K, Sissman O, Suzuki S, Menzies C, Sakai S, Sansjofre P, Tasumi E, Bernasconi SM, Glombitza C, Barker Jørgensen B, Morono Y, Lever MA

Corrigendum: Polymerized 4-Fold Coordinated Carbonate Melts in the Deep Mantle

Sanloup C, Hudspeth JM, Afonina V, Cochain B, Konôpková Z, Lelong G, Cormier L, Cavallari C
Hydrostatic pressure helps to cultivate an original anaerobic bacterium from the Atlantis Massif subseafloor (IODP Expedition 357): Petrocella atlantisensis gen. nov. sp. nov. Quéméneur M, Erauso G, Frouin E, Zeghal E, Vandecasteele C, Ollivier B, Tamburini C, Garel M, Menez B, Postec A

An Improved Method for Extracting Viruses From Sediment: Detection of Far More Viruses in the Subseafloor Than Previously Reported

Pan D, Morono Y, Inagaki F, Takai K

Polymerized 4-Fold Coordinated Carbonate Melts in the Deep Mantle

Sanloup C, Hudspeth JM, Afonina V, Cochain B, Konôpková Z, Lelong G, Cormier L, Cavallari C

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