With the latest spewing of lava and as from the Kilauea volcano, we cannot think of any other word than ‘disaster’. However, scientists believe that there is an upside to the existence of lava and that they could make it useful.
Scientists think that solidified lava and magma could store large amounts of carbon dioxide and help to slow global warming.
When the lava gets cool, it forms a ‘bubbly’ black rock, called basalt. This rock could help suck carbon, and so can peridotite. The greenish-black rock – peridotite, forms when magma cools in the mantle of the Earth. Inside the rock, there are magnesium or calcium ions that can lock up CO2 in the form of solid carbonate. It will make it look like chalk.
Using Lava to Cool the Planet
Juerg Matter is an earth scientist who led a pilot study on this theory. He and his team injected carbon dioxide into the basalt rock in Iceland. The result was quite promising.
Until recently, all the data, scientific literature and experiments in the lab showed that carbon dioxide takes hundreds or thousands of years to mineralize. Matter’s project shows that all the carbon dioxide that he and his team injected in the basalt rock mineralize in less than two years.
In an urge to fight back air pollution, many European research institutes have started to support this projects, and similar projects around the world have started to conduct similar experiments.
The good news: there is Basalt everywhere on earth. It is present in India, Iceland and the Pacific Northwest in a high concentration. It’s all over the surface of this planet, covering it more than any other kind of rock.
So, it might sound weird, but the hot lava could help us find a way and cool the planet!
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere