What is the Deep Carbon Observatory?

The Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) is a multi-disciplinary, international initiative dedicated to achieving a transformational understanding of Earth's deep carbon cycle, including its poorly constrained reservoirs and fluxes, the unknown role of deep biology, and unexplored influences of the deep carbon cycle on critical societal concerns related to energy, environment and climate.

Carbon plays an unparalled role in our lives


It is the element of life, providing the chemical backbone for all essential biomolecules. Carbon-based fuels supply most of our energy, while small carbon-containing molecules in the Earth's atmosphere play a major role in our variable and uncertain climate. Yet in spite of carbon's importance, we remain largely ignorant of the physical, chemical, and biological behavior of carbon-bearing systems more than a few hundred meters beneath our feet. We do not know how much carbon is stored in the Earth's interior, nor do we know the nature of these deep reservoirs.