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Oman Drilling Project: Ancient seabed holds secrets in search for life on other planets

The Oman Drilling Project is a collaborative multinational investigation of the Samail Ophiolite, the world’s largest, best-exposed, and most-studied subaerial block of oceanic crust and upper mantle. The Samail Ophiolite contains rock assemblages formed by seafloor spreading, providing scientists with an inside look at ancient oceanic lithosphere brought to the surface millions of years ago by tectonic plate action.


Exploring Manam Volcano Degassing with Drones

In October 2018 a team of volcanologists and aerospace engineers headed to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the first of two Deep Carbon Observatory expeditions to measure volcanic carbon degassing using aerial (drone) techniques. The team, comprising Dr. Emma Liu and Dr. Brendan McCormick of the University of Cambridge and Dr Kieran Wood and Dr Tom Richardson from the University of Bristol Flight Lab, worked closely with the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory to help integrate new instruments into volcanic gas monitoring in PNG.


Biology Meets Subduction

On 11 February 2017, 25 researchers from six nations met in San Jose, Costa Rica for a 12-day sampling expedition across the Costa Rica volcanic arc. Members of the four Deep Carbon Observatory Science Communities conducted a scientific investigation at Costa Rican volcanic sites through the lenses of biology, chemistry, physics, and geology. This multidisciplinary view is affording researchers from different fields the unique opportunity to work side by side, sharing their insights, and asking questions to achieve a broader picture of the role of carbon in this active volcanic arc.


Investigating Western Aleutian Volcanoes

In September 2015, several Deep Carbon Observatory scientists took part in a US NSF sponsored GeoPRISMS expedition to the Aleutian Islands onboard the R/V Maritime Maid. DCO DECADE (Deep Carbon Degassing) scientists Taryn Lopez (University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA) and Tobias Fischer (University of New Mexico, USA) focused their work on the Western Aleutian volcanoes, and captured stunning video of the expedition.

Read more about the expedition, and what they have since learned about these remote volcanoes.


Searching magmatic CO2 degassing in the Afar Rift

From 1-12 November 2017, an international group of scientists headed to Afar, Ethiopia to measure carbon dioxide degassing in this rifting area, where three tectonic plates are spreading out. The team, led by Raphael Pik and Bernard Marty of the CNRS at the University of Lorraine, France, is trying to understand the deep, magmatic origins of degassing in this tectonically active region. The expedition was supported by the Richard Lounsbery Foundation and the Deep Carbon Observatory.

Read more about research about degassing.


Closer to Forecasting Volcanic Eruptions

On average, 40 volcanoes on land erupt into the atmosphere each month. Deep Carbon Observatory scientists are studying volcanic emissions at sites around the world, and will more than triple the number of permanent volcano gas monitoring stations from 2012-2019. Credits: Video by Smithsonian Digital Studios. Certain clips and stills courtesy of DCO scientists Taryn Lopez, Tobias Fischer, and Bernard Marty. Others retain the following copyright: © Trail by Fire, 2016: Yves Moussallam, Ian Schipper, Aaron Curtis, Talfan Barnie, Philipson Bani, and Nial Peters.

Try the Eruptions, Earthquakes and Emissions App.

Read more about DCO's work on volcanoes.


Disko Island Expedition: Snow Algae

In August 2013, the Deep Carbon Observatory and the UK Centre for Astrobiology sent an international team of researchers to Disko Island, Greenland, to assess the value of this site to deep carbon research. While there, expedition leader Claire Cousins (University of Edinburgh, UK) captured video footage of the research taking place. In this first video, Mark Fox-Powell (University of Edinburgh, UK) talks about the snow algae of Lyngsmarksbraen.

Read Cousins' blog post about the expedition.


Investigating the Deep Past in Dziani Dzaha Lake

A French research team is investigating volcanic carbon's role in fueling biomass in the Dziani Dzaha crater lake located in the Comoros Archipelago, a small volcanic hotspot chain in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mozambique. The alluring emerald Dziani Dzaha on Petite Terre, one of France's Mayotte islands, may prove to be a gem to Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) scientists seeking to understand Earth's early life. It may also have implications for the existence of significant deep carbon "bioenergy factories" in Earth's history.


Deep Carbon Observatory Field Studies

As part of their 10-year mission to clarify the role of deep carbon in Earth’s past, present, and future, Deep Carbon Observatory scientists are heading to some of the most remote and scientifically valuable places on the planet. From establishing global volcanic monitoring systems to collecting sediment cores at the bottom of Earth’s expansive oceans, DCO scientists are using a vast array of techniques and technologies to find clues at the surface about carbon lying deep inside Earth.

Read more about field studies.


X Ray Diffraction of Super-deep Diamonds

In this video, Fabrizio Nestola demonstrates the instrument used in new research about how large diamonds form deep in Earth's mantle.

Read more about diamonds and diamond research.


About the Deep Carbon Observatory

Produced by Smithsonian Media and the Deep Carbon Observatory.


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