From Eos: “Scientists Discover a New Source of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide”

Science Springs

Eos news bloc

Eos

1.26.16
JoAnna Wendel

Rift zone faults cut across the East African rift
Faults cut across the East African Rift zone, where the slow motion of the Nubian and Somalian plates of Earth’s crust pulls the continent apart. Scientists have found that faults in this zone contribute significant amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. To give a sense of scale, the vegetated (green) valley floor at the lower right is 17 kilometers long. Credit: ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown source of carbon dioxide leaking into the atmosphere. The gas emerges from faults where the slow separation of plates of the planet’s continental crust is cracking and deforming the Earth.

Techtonic plates
The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century.

Faults in the East African Rift zone release about 71 megatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into…

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