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Scientists have long recognized that rock weathering helps to maintain a fairly steady temperature on Earth. However, the pace of the process was too slow to match the rate of human carbon emissions. However, it appears that speeding up the weathering of rocks may serve some use in the fight against climate change. Let’s find out further in the article.
Chemical weathering is a natural process that, over the course of millions of years, slowly erodes away the rocks that make up our lithosphere while storing carbon dioxide. Rain kicks off the weathering process. Rain is somewhat acidic by nature because it absorbs carbon dioxide from the sky before it hits the ground. The soil and rocks that the acidic rain interacts with are eventually reduced to tiny rock grains, and bicarbonate is created as a result. This bicarbonate eventually washes into the seas, where the carbon is trapped on the sea floor or preserved in soluble form for hundreds of thousands of years.
Enhanced weathering speeds up this procedure. To avoid the lengthy weathering process, silicate rocks like basalt, which are remnants of long-ago volcanic eruptions, are ground into powder. The resultant powder, which has a great amount of reactive surface area, is then scattered across a vast area of farmland, where soil bacteria and plant roots facilitate the chemical reactions. Recently, there have been plans to disperse silicate-rich rocks across vast expanses of farmland in an effort to increase the mineral absorption of carbon dioxide. This would remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
Enhanced rock weathering is a hybrid of natural and artificial processes. It accelerates the naturally occurring but extremely slow weathering process to get rid of the carbon faster. According to some research, chemical weathering may accelerate with higher temperatures, removing more CO2 from the atmosphere and helping to regulate the climate somewhat like a thermostat by removing more CO2. It is unknown, however, if this is true in every circumstance.
Some experts have suggested that mining, grinding, and spreading out stones on crop fields can improve rock weathering. To make it work in a significant enough way, you would need to mine a lot of rock, spread it out over a sizable area, and make sure it was in a region with high rainfall. As a result, this idea does not appear to be deployable in huge quantities. However, it may be one of the methods we can employ to slow down climate change.
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