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 Exhumed Seafloor Shows Carbon’s Fate

Two new studies show that carbonate minerals in subducting ocean plates can dissolve and be funneled toward the surface once they encounter the heat and pressure of the mantle, creating carbon-rich minerals along the paths of these fluids. Some of the carbon, however, remains trapped in the sinking plate, where it likely stays in the mantle....

DCO Highlights CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2019 DCO Emerging Leader Awards

The Deep Carbon Observatory invites all members of the DCO community to submit nominations for the 2019 DCO Emerging Leader Awards. ...

DCO Research Aquifer Microbes Survive on Limited Diet

Bacteria living on the surface of the mineral olivine inside a deep, subseafloor aquifer rely on the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway, an ancient type of metabolism that uses hydrogen and carbon dioxide to yield energy and organic compounds....

DCO Research Methane Metabolism is Ancient and Widespread

By searching existing metagenomic data to find genes for a key methane metabolism enzyme, researchers identified new and diverse groups of archaea capable of producing or consuming methane. The finding suggests that methane metabolism likely evolved early in the rise of Archaea. ...

DCO Highlights Open Access Thematic Set of Lecture Notes

A thematic set of six papers celebrates the science presented at the PhD School of Milano Bicocca, “Carbon forms, paths, and processes in the Earth.” The papers are available in open access format in The Journal of the Geological Society. ...

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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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