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Reducing Greenhouse Gas Pollution

Atmospheric greenhouse gas levels can be reduced by reducing emissions, or by geoengineering.

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Carbon Sequestration

Carbon Sequestration

Credit: Miles Orchinik
Source: http://miles-home.smugmug.com/Nature/Ecuador-Amazon-basin-along/i-q39cptB
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Carbon dioxide is naturally sequestered in trees and other plants until the plant dies. One way to take CO2 out of the atmosphere is to grow more forests, but forests like the Amazon rainforest are slowly being destroyed.

Why It Matters

Credit: Jstuby
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:VessicularBasalt1.JPG
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Vessicular basalt at Sunset Crater, AZ (U.S. quater shown for scale) [Figure2]

  • Human activities, like fossil fuel burning, are causing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to rise.
  • Since CO2 levels traps heat in the atmosphere global temperatures are rising
  • Attempts to reduce CO2 emissions have not been very successful.
  • So capturing the CO2 and putting it into a safe place where it can’t enter the atmosphere can decrease the amount CO2 levels are rising.
  • Basalt flows in central New Jersey are a candidate for carbon storage.

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With the links below, learn more about carbon sequestration. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What are the three steps of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)?
  2. What features are needed in a rock formation for it to be good for carbon sequestration?
  3. What is the origin of the basalt flows in central New Jersey that might be suitable for carbon sequestration? How much of this basalt is there?
  4. How does putting CO2 into these basalts complete a cycle?
  5. What happens to the CO2 in the rock so that it is stable in storage in the rock?
  6. What are the positive and negative points of storing carbon dioxide in basalts offshore?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Miles Orchinik; Source: http://miles-home.smugmug.com/Nature/Ecuador-Amazon-basin-along/i-q39cptB; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Jstuby; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:VessicularBasalt1.JPG; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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