Underreported: The Rock that Ate Carbon Dioxide

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Environmentalists are trying to figure out all sorts of ways to capture and store carbon dioxide. Tim Folger explains why a common mantle rock called peridotite may help scientists capture the greenhouse gas. His article on peridotite appears in the spring issue of OnEarth Magazine.


Tim Folger

Comments [3]

Jim Dorman from Memphis, TN

A couple of things: Exposure of CO2-laden fluid to a large surface area might be increased by horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing, the technologies now being used in tight gas production. On the other hand, since there is a volume increase in changing peridotite to carbonate rock, hydrofracturing and CO2 injection would be a self-limiting process at depth.

I am not a field geologist, and the only peridotite I have ever seen in the field was in a serpentinite quarry where they were sawing and polishing slabs of verde antique for fancy coffee tables, etc. As a student of Charles H. Behre, Professor of Geology at Columbia, I visited this quarry in 1953. It is near Delta, PA.

Serpentinization of shallow periodotite masses is actually the natural process that has already occurred in the quarry I visited. So maybe forced carbon sequestration would work at shallow depth in that outcrop area.

Jun. 27 2009 12:20 AM

Maybe we can create an underwear lining for humans and cows. It can absorb all of the methane.

Mar. 19 2009 01:33 PM
Howard Lee from Berkeley Heights

Hi - I really don't think the drilling concept is geologically plausible. Peridotite is a dense impermeable rock. Even with fracture induction the surface areas will be minimal compared with that needed. The sosts of drilling are very high even in soft rock. In Hard rock like peridotite it's more expensive. Also there is the surface effect - once the surface reacts that volume of rock is done. Nice idea but the parameters of volume and cost seem way off.

Mar. 19 2009 01:31 PM

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