Carbon dioxide sequestration in deep-sea basalt
David S. Goldberg*, Taro Takahashi, and Angela L. Slagle
Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964
Communicated by Wallace S. Broecker, Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY, May 7, 2008 (received for review April 3, 2008)
Developing a method for secure sequestration of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in geological formations is one of our most pressing global scientific problems. Injection into deep-sea basalt formations provides unique and significant advantages over other potential geological storage options, including (i) vast reservoir capacities sufficient to accommodate centuries-long U.S. production of fossil fuel CO2 at locations within pipeline distances to populated areas and CO2 sources along the U.S. west coast; (ii) sufficiently closed water-rock circulation pathways for the chemical reaction of CO2 with basalt to produce stable and nontoxic (Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe2+)CO3 infilling minerals, and (iii) significant risk reduction for post-injection leakage by geological, gravitational, and hydrate-trapping mechanisms. CO2 sequestration in established sediment-covered basalt aquifers on the Juan de Fuca plate offer promising locations to securely accommodate more than a century of future U.S. emissions, warranting energized scientific research, technological assessment, and economic evaluation to establish a viable pilot injection program in the future.