Certain rocks abundant on the U.S. East and West coasts may one day be coaxed to absorb emissions of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide at a rate that could slow climate change, scientists say. Scientists have long known that rocks naturally absorb carbon dioxide over thousands of years by binding it with minerals to form solids like calcium carbonate, a common substance found in rocks and the main component of snail shells and eggshells. When their surfaces are dissolved by weathering and natural cycles, the rocks absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it recrystallizes. So scientists are looking to natural rock outcroppings, which they hope can be forced to absorb CO2 faster than happens naturally. One method could involve boring into rock and injecting it with hot water and pressurized carbon dioxide. Krevor said the U.S. rocks could potentially absorb 500 years’ of the country’s CO2 emissions. The United States is the world’s second-largest carbon dioxide emitter after China.
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