Welcome to the Deep Carbon Observatory

A global community of more than 1000 scientists on a ten-year quest to understand the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon inside Earth.

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These archaea, Altiarchaeales, were originally found living in sulfidic springs in Germany. Scientists collected water samples from a 30m-deep borehole, however the cells they analyzed could be living at much greater depths. Each cell is surrounded by a fuzzy coat of “hami,” hair-like appendages with “grappling hooks” at the end and barb-wire-like prickles along their length. These surface structures help the cells stick to surfaces. Image courtesy of Christine Moissl-Eichinger (Medical University of Graz, Austria), colorized to enhance the forms.

Read more about the unusual life forms living in deep Earth:
Life in Deep Earth Totals 15 to 23 Billion Tonnes of Carbon—Hundreds of Times More than Humans

DCO Research Complicated Carbon Chemistry in Magma Ocean

Computer simulations of the magma ocean on early Earth suggest that the carbon chemistry was surprisingly complex at high pressure. Iron likely sequestered much of the carbon into the metallic core while diamonds may have formed from clusters of carbon....

DCO Research Introducing Hydrothermarchaeota

Researchers used cutting-edge molecular methods to describe a group of subseafloor microbes that thrive in the hot, oxygen-free fluids flowing through Earth’s crust....

DCO Highlights 2019 Designated as the "Year of Carbon"

The Geological Society of London has designated 2019 as the “Year of Carbon.” Throughout the year, the Society will explore the geoscience of carbon through research conferences, public lectures, educational programs, and other activities. ...

DCO Research Mars-Sized Body Delivered Earth’s Carbon

Researchers propose that a planetary body the size of Mars crashed into early Earth, simultaneously delivering a mix of volatile elements necessary for life and creating the Moon. The hypothesis is based on a new study of how the presence of sulfur in a newly forming planet impacts whether carbon and nitrogen end up in the core or the mantle....

DCO Highlights Goldschmidt 2019: Sessions of Special Interest to DCO

The 29th Goldschmidt Conference will take place at the Center Convencions Internacional Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain, from 18-23 August 2019....


Learn more about DCO's integrative approach, which emphasizes cross-disciplinary research activities in data science, instrumentation, field studies, and modeling and visualization, or discover deep carbon research by exploring DCO books, special issues, and journal articles.

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Extreme Physics and Chemistry Dedicated to improving our understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of carbon at extreme conditions, as found in the deep interiors of Earth and other planets.
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Reservoirs and Fluxes Dedicated to identifying deep carbon reservoirs, determining how carbon moves among these reservoirs, and assessing Earth’s total carbon budget.
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Deep Energy Dedicated to understanding the volume and rates of abiogenic hydrocarbons and other organic species in the crust and mantle through geological time.
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Deep Life Dedicated to assessing the nature and extent of the deep microbial and viral biosphere.
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