Deep Carbon Observatory Thematic Institute: Carbon from the Mantle to the Surface

The Thematic Institute will bring together 50-75 researchers and young scientists with broad international representation in geochemistry, experimental petrology, volcanology, geodynamics, thermodynamics, geophysics, paleoclimate and geology.

1-3 JULY 2015 (in conjunction with the 2015 CIDER Summer Program)
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California USA



Terry Plank, Columbia University, NY, US
Donald B. Dingwell, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany
Rajdeep Dasgupta, Rice University, TX, US
Mike Burton, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Pisa, Italy
Barbara Romanowicz, University of California Berkeley, CA, US


Program Details


Carbon from the Mantle to the Surface

The goal of this Thematic Institute is to integrate efforts between communities studying the forms and fluxes of carbon in Earth in order to address the long-term fate of carbon on the planet. We hope this effort will lead to a model for fluxes and uncertainties that addresses one of DCO’s decadal goals: "Is the net flux of carbon into or out of Earth?" If carbon is disappearing into Earth via plate subduction, does this affect the surface abundances over geological time? Or is carbon returned efficiently to surface pools via metamorphism, migration, magmatism and eruption?

This 3-day workshop at UC Berkeley will bring together 50-75 researchers and young scientists with broad international representation in geochemistry, experimental petrology, volcanology, geodynamics, thermodynamics, geophysics, paleoclimate and geology.

This DCO Thematic Institute (July 1-3, 2015) overlaps with the CIDER Summer Program (Cooperative Institute for Dynamic Earth Research), which will be held in Berkeley, CA from June 30 - July 31, 2015. The CIDER theme for 2015 is "Solid Earth Dynamics and Climate - Mantle Interactions with the Hydrosphere & Carbosphere." Applications to both the DCO Thematic Institute and the CIDER Summer School are welcomed.


Meals, Lodging, and Travel
Lodging (double occupancy campus apartments), meals, and partial travel support will be provided for successful applicants and invitees. Further lodging and travel details will be sent to accepted applicants.

Application Requirements
All applicants must be members of the DCO Science Network. For details, see the DCO Science Network web page.

To apply to the DCO Thematic Institute: Carbon from the Mantle to the Surface, complete and submit this online application form (application window now closed). You will be asked to provide:

• Contact Information
• A brief (~1 paragraph) statement of your research interests relevant to the Thematic Institute
• A brief (~1 paragraph) statement of your potential contribution to the Thematic Institute
• A 1-2 page CV
• If you are a graduate student, a letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor

Applicant Selection Criteria
• Relevant science contributions or interests
• Likelihood of contributing to the quality of the program and discussions
• Balance among early career and established scientists
• International and diverse representation

Application/Acceptance Deadlines
Saturday, 28 February 2015. Applicants will be notified of acceptance in March 2015.

Scientific Motivation: Carbon is removed from the atmosphere and biosphere via rock weathering reactions, carbonate precipitation, and settling of fossil shells and organic matter onto the seafloor to form marine sediments. While the fate of terrestrial carbon involves cycling between the atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere (with by far the largest reservoir being continental limestone sediments), the fate of marine carbon on the deep seafloor is subduction into Earth's mantle. Subjected to high pressures and temperatures in the subduction zone, this carbon may ultimately form diamonds, or fluids and melts that migrate upward, eventually erupting out of volcanoes into the atmosphere. Some carbon fluxes to the atmosphere, however, are part of the planet's primary budget, and so another important question is how much carbon output is part of the planet's continuous outgassing and how much is recycled from Earth's surface. The budgets of inputs (via weathering, burial, and subduction into deep Earth) and outputs (via volcanism, diffuse and focused CO2 emission into the atmosphere and ocean) are as yet so poorly known that we do not yet know whether the sign of net flux is positive or negative (i.e., net planetary ingassing or outgassing). There have been attempts to quantify fluxes of seafloor carbonate into subduction zones, the emission of CO2 from volcanoes, and the balance of different Earth reservoirs, but there is as yet no consensus on the sizes of each reservoir, the fluxes between reservoirs, nor even the theory of how and when carbon transforms from solid to fluid to gaseous phases.

This DCO Thematic Institute will explore these processes and fluxes in a three-day meeting.

Draft Agenda and Topics:
Day 1: Mantle Carbon - Origins and Evolution
Topics for Discussion:
Subduction inputs • Solubility of C in high P-T fluids and minerals • Diamonds • CO2 melting • Primordial vs. Recycled Carbon • CO2/Nb and other geochemical proxies • C heterogeneity

Day 2: Carbon Rising
Topics for Discussion:
Geophysical detection of carbon-rich melts and fluids • Melt migration • CO2 in the lower crust • Granulites and skarns • Ascent rates • Long period earthquakes and CO2-rich fluids • CO2 flushing

Day 3: Carbon Outputs
Topics for Discussion:
Volcanic fluxes • New instrumentation • Satellite measurements • Faults & CO2 conduits • Volcano deformation and CO2 • Diffuse degassing • Tectonic degassing • CO2-H2O in melt inclusions and bubbles • Submarine emissions

Further Reading

DCO Highlights CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: 2018 DCO Emerging Leader Awards

The Deep Carbon Observatory invites all members of the DCO community to submit nominations for the…

DCO Highlights Fourth International Diamond School Convenes in Bressanone, Italy

The INDIMEDEA (Inclusions in diamonds: messengers from the deep Earth) research team, led by…

DCO Highlights VIDEO: Biology Meets Subduction

Members of the four DCO Science Communities conducted a scientific investigation at Costa Rican…

DCO Highlights 2017 DCO Emerging Leader Award Recipients Selected

The Deep Carbon Observatory has selected three early career scientists to receive the 2017 DCO…

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