A new Rice University-led study finds the real estate mantra “location, location, location” may also explain one of Earth’s enduring climate mysteries. The study suggests that Earth’s repeated flip-flopping between greenhouse and icehouse states over the past 500 million years may have been driven by the episodic flare-up of volcanoes at key locations where enormous amounts of carbon dioxide are poised for release into the atmosphere.
“We found that Earth’s continents serve as enormous ‘carbonate capacitors,’” said Rice’s Cin-Ty Lee, the lead author of the study in this month’s GeoSphere. “Continents store massive amounts of carbon dioxide in sedimentary carbonates like limestone and marble, and it appears that these reservoirs are tapped from time to time by volcanoes, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
Lee said as much as 44 percent of carbonates by weight is carbon dioxide. Under most circumstances that carbon stays locked inside Earth’s rigid continental crust.
“One process that can release carbon dioxide from these carbonates is interaction with magma,” he said. “But that rarely happens on Earth today because most volcanoes are located on island arcs, tectonic plate boundaries that don’t contain continental crust.”
Earth’s climate continually cycles between greenhouse and icehouse states, which each last on timescales of 10 million to 100 million years. Icehouse states — like the one Earth has been in for the past 50 million years — are marked by ice at the poles and periods of glacial activity. By contrast, the warmer greenhouse states are marked by increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and by an ice-free surface, even at the poles. The last greenhouse period lasted about 50 million to 70 million years and spanned the late Cretaceous, when dinosaurs roamed, and the early Paleogene, when mammals began to diversify.
Lee and colleagues found that the planet’s greenhouse-icehouse oscillations are a natural consequence of plate tectonics. The research showed that tectonic activity drives an episodic flare-up of volcanoes along continental arcs, particularly during periods when oceans are forming and continents are breaking apart. The continental arc volcanoes that arise during these periods are located on the edges of continents, and the magma that rises through the volcanoes releases enormous quantities of carbon dioxide as it passes through layers of carbonates in the continental crust.
DON'T BELIEVE A DAMN WORD YOU READ ON THIS WEBSITE!
The reader is responsible for discerning the validity, factuality or implications of information posted here, be it fictional or based on real events. Moderators on this forum make every effort to review the material posted on this site however, it is not realistically possible for our small staff to manually review each and every one of the more than 20,000 posts GodlikeProductions gets on a daily basis.
The content of posts on this site, including but not limited to links to other web sites, are the expressed opinion of the original poster and are in no way representative of or endorsed by the owners or administration of this website. The posts on this website are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or factual information on behalf of the owner or administration of GodlikeProductions. This site may contain adult language, if you feel you might be offended by such content, you should log off immediately.
Not all posts on this website are intended as truthful or factual assertion by their authors. Some users of this website are participating in internet role playing, with or without the use of an avatar. NO post on this website should be considered factual information on face value alone.
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."- Samuel Adams
"...It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.." --Samuel Adams
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. --John F. Kennedy
The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. --John F. Kennedy
Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind. --John F. Kennedy
Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth. --Abraham Lincoln
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good. --George Washington
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. --Albert Einstein
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. --Thomas Jefferson
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” - Albert Einstein
"The best minds are not in government. If they were, business would hire them away." -Ronald Reagan
"You cannot give away kindness because people keep returning it" -Indian Saying