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Q: Does CO2 Leak Naturally from the Earth?

A: All the time!

The bubbles in the photograph at right are made by carbon dioxide naturally leaking from underneath a lake in Maria Laach, Germany. For thousands of years CO2 has bubbled to the water’s surface and mixed with the air. Plants, animals, and humans still live on the shores of the lake.

In Perrier, France, another natural CO2 leak produces the carbonated water that is packaged into green bottles and sold all over the world. 

And carbon dioxide is discharged from some volcanos when they erupt.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Katherine Romanak of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center approved this FAQ.

 

 

Carbon dioxide naturally leaks from the Latera caldera in central Italy. Click on the icon at the left for more information on how scientists are using this natural analogue to study the signals left by carbon dioxide in soils and rocks.

 

 

The icon on the left links to work done by Italian researchers at comparing environmental signals at a natural analogue and industrial carbon storage sites.

 

 

In Chimayo, New Mexico, researchers from Los Alamos National Labs are studying how carbon dioxide that naturally flows through aquifers may impact drinking water.

 

 

The icon at the left links to Proceedings from the 4th International Conference on Carbon Capture and Sequestration summarizing CO2 flux surveys near Crystal Geyser in Utah.

 

 

Romanak and her colleagues are using a type of natural analogue called a playa lake to understand how carbon dioxide reacts with the environment. To view a presentation she gave on the topic, click left.