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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From 12-25 February 2017, a team of 25 Deep Carbon Observatory early career scientists from five countries, representing the four DCO Science Communities, participated in an expedition called Biology Meets Subduction. Poás volcano in Costa Rica, with effusive fumaroles and a hyper-acidic crater lake, was a critical piece of the project. On 24 February, members of the team hiked into the crater to take water samples in the acidic lake.
Sampling in an active volcano is challenging. Climbing down into the crater involves a steep descent over unstable, rocky terrain. Once in the crater, because of the acidic emissions, scientists must work quickly to minimize the time spent at the site.
Many questions exist about the influence of biological processes on carbon flux. The results of the Biology Meets Subduction field sampling will help scientists better predict how carbon moves in and out of Earth on a global basis and how that movement is related to biological processes. Read more about the expedition. Credit Katie Pratt.

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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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