Presentation Title

Investigating Variations in CO2 in Past Climates and Possible Hydrothermal Sources in the Deep Ocean

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

HUB 302-88

Type of Presentation

Poster

Abstract

Attempting to understand the behavior of Earth’s carbon cycle has brought up more questions than answers. The general observation made has been that atmospheric CO2 levels are directly correlated to sea surface temperatures; more specifically, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has a local minimum during glacial maximums. However, what causes these massive fluxes in atmospheric CO2 levels is still unknown. Examining the ratio of stable isotopes in carbon and oxygen in marine samples can be used to investigate changes in the temperature and changes in the flux of carbon from geologic sources, a potential regulator for both ocean and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Higher values of d18O indicate lower ocean temperatures and when there is a significant dip in the d13c value, that could indicate an excursion of CO2 from the hydrothermal vents due to the location of the sediment cores we obtained these marine samples from.

The hypothesis being investigated is that 14C and 13C depleted sources of CO2 from the Earth’s mantle are released by hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean and are responsible for the variations of CO2 observed in the atmosphere. Trace metals are also released when the hydrothermal vents release CO2; the samples that came from the same period as the excursions showed higher levels of trace metals. These excursions of CO2 could be responsible for the accelerated warming of earth during a deglaciation period. The warming that we cause from our CO2 emissions can cause the hydrothermal systems to show positive feedback from the earth and release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

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Investigating Variations in CO2 in Past Climates and Possible Hydrothermal Sources in the Deep Ocean

HUB 302-88

Attempting to understand the behavior of Earth’s carbon cycle has brought up more questions than answers. The general observation made has been that atmospheric CO2 levels are directly correlated to sea surface temperatures; more specifically, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has a local minimum during glacial maximums. However, what causes these massive fluxes in atmospheric CO2 levels is still unknown. Examining the ratio of stable isotopes in carbon and oxygen in marine samples can be used to investigate changes in the temperature and changes in the flux of carbon from geologic sources, a potential regulator for both ocean and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Higher values of d18O indicate lower ocean temperatures and when there is a significant dip in the d13c value, that could indicate an excursion of CO2 from the hydrothermal vents due to the location of the sediment cores we obtained these marine samples from.

The hypothesis being investigated is that 14C and 13C depleted sources of CO2 from the Earth’s mantle are released by hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean and are responsible for the variations of CO2 observed in the atmosphere. Trace metals are also released when the hydrothermal vents release CO2; the samples that came from the same period as the excursions showed higher levels of trace metals. These excursions of CO2 could be responsible for the accelerated warming of earth during a deglaciation period. The warming that we cause from our CO2 emissions can cause the hydrothermal systems to show positive feedback from the earth and release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.