Friday, March 18, 2016

Science & Technology: Are Geysers Powered by CO2?

Can Carbon Dioxide Trigger Geyser Eruptions? (EOS)

Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. GRC Field Trip 2015. Taken by Ian Crawford.

Researchers looking at geyser discharge water in Yellowstone National Park found that dissolved carbon dioxide could be involved in a geyser's eruption.

The current perception of geysers—that their explosions are driven by hot water and steam—may not be exactly right. In a new paper published online on 7 March in Geology, researchers found that higher carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in geyser water preceded eruptions—leading them to suggest that CO2 is an important ingredient in triggering eruptions.

‪“The common perception about geysers is that it’s just water and steam—and that it’s just a ‪process of boiling,” said Bethany Ladd, a research assistant at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and lead author on the paper. ‪But “there are other things in the water, and they may have huge ‪implications for the geyser.”

(Thanks to GRC Member Marcelo Lippmann, Staff Scientist (retired) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the submission.)