March 16th, 2009
By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
Scientists have been studying a certain type of rock as a potential way to soak up carbon emissions. These ultramafic rocks, found in the United States, the Middle East and other locations, naturally react with carbon dioxide over thousands of years, turning the gas into solid minerals.
Geologists are exploring ways to exploit this natural tendency of the rock, and hurry it up a bit to help clean our carbon-addled atmosphere. The researchers include Columbia University graduate student Sam Krevor (and colleagues) who recently mapped the ultramafic rocks in the United States for his doctoral dissertation. The map shows a bounty of rock that they say could be enough to stash more than 500 years of U.S. CO2 production. That’s carbon scrubbing on an unheard-of scale.