The Oman Geoengineering Scheme To Save The Planet

In this March 2017 photo, a drilling crew carries a core sample from a rig to a research tend during a geological research project in the al-Hajjar mountains of Oman. Photo by Sam McNeil

A story in the Arizona Daily Star, 4-14-17 (the great “march for science” issue) shows how some scientists create the most tenuous links between their research and climate change as a plea for funding.

This story is “Oman’s mountains may hold clues for reversing climate change.” (Link) The lede: “Deep in the jagged red mountains of Oman, geologists are searching for an efficient and cheap way to remove carbon dioxide from the air and oceans — and perhaps begin to reverse climate change. They are coring samples from one of the world’s only exposed sections of the Earth’s mantle to uncover how a spontaneous natural process millions of years ago transformed carbon dioxide into limestone and marble.”

The researchers are excited because the exposed mantle rock is mostly peridotite, a coarse-grained igneous rock made up of the minerals olivine and pyroxene, both magnesium silicates. “They hope to answer the question of how the rocks managed to capture so much carbon over the course of 90 million years — and to see if there’s a way to speed up the timetable.” A researcher goes on to say, ““Every single magnesium atom in these rocks has made friends with the carbon dioxide to form solid limestone, magnesium carbonate, plus quartz.”

A couple of nitpicks: Limestone is calcium carbonate, not magnesium carbonate (Calcium and magnesium together with carbonate form a rock called dolomite). Marble is a metamorphic rock which requires heat and/or pressure to form. That “spontaneous natural process” happened not only millions of years ago, but is a continuing natural process in the ocean when calcium ions derived from weathering of surface rocks combine with carbonate ions in the ocean. Basaltic ocean crustal rocks act as a buffer by continuously removing CO2 from the ocean by combining carbonate with calcium derived from surface weathering of rocks.

Their great scheme is this: “a drilling operation could cycle carbon-rich water into the newly formed seabed on oceanic ridges far below the surface. Just like in Oman’s mountains, the submerged rock would chemically absorb carbon from the water. The water could then be cycled back to the surface to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, in a sort of conveyor belt.”

Perhaps the researchers made the climate change link to their research just to suck up grant money so they can continue studying. The geology is interesting, but their idea sounds like another crazy, expensive, and totally unnecessary geoengineering scheme. (See Wacky Geoengineering Schemes to Control Climate)

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Note to readers:


  1. And still it gets hotter, glaciers melt, the oceans continue to rise (if you haven’t noticed we’ve lost part of Louisiana). To think that over 7 billion people on the planet does not have an impact, that burning does not affect the atmosphere, that deforestation does not change the balance of nature, that indiscriminate spraying of toxic chemicals doesn’t harm living things including humans…well, some folks might still think the earth is flat. Don’t want to confuse anyone with the facts.

    • couldn’t be that the Mississippi has been so controlled and water managed that part of Louisiana moved.. the same is true for the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay relationship, the bay used to be “Fresh Water” the flow so great from the river, it’s what made the bay so famous – ships could pull in and water without much work.
      What effect does one volcano have vs lots of cars in therms and terms of CO in the sphere? There’s more forest here now in the east than there was when we arrived on the land mass…
      Heat has been part of the past for lots of time, with grapes in Iceland at one time.. so what the CO2’ers are saying is make the sphere and earth a ‘static’ process – news is IT’S NOT. Putting CO2 in a hole is fools folly… want a think to worry about Iran and Russia are now allies as predicted in Revelations with a war just over the horizon it doesn’t matter how high the water is papa… the nuclear fire is getting lit.

    • Thinking that the world is flat is ridiculous Albert. It is shaped like a “saucer”. If the world was flat the oceans would run over the sides and drain.

      The easiest way to stop the debate about “global warming” is to stop funding research into the B.S. people spread to get millions/billions in grant monies, and keep their jobs.

  2. There are many less remote places this could have been tried out…but drilling in Oman sounds so exotic.

    PS…why isn’t the one individual wearing his high-vis safety vest?

  3. ROTFLMAO… another way to drill a dry hole – to funny! So what happens if you hit oil? Never mind about the CO2? Oman, just might happen…

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