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l Research & Projects l



Carbon Sequestration in Deep-Sea Basalt

David S. Goldberg, Angela S. Slagle and Taro Takahashi

Developing a method for secure sequestration of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in geological formations is one of our most pressing global scientific problems. Injection into deep-sea basalt formations provides unique and significant advantages over other potential geological storage options, including: (i) vast reservoir capacities sufficient to accommodate centuries-long U.S. production of fossil fuel CO2 at locations within pipeline distances to populated areas and CO2 sources along the U.S. coast; (ii) sufficiently closed water-rock circulation pathways for the chemical reaction of CO2 with basalt to produce stable and nontoxic (Ca2+, Mg2+ Fe2+)CO3 infilling minerals; and (iii) significant risk reduction for post-injection leakage by geological, gravitational, and hydrate-trapping mechanisms. In particular, CO2 sequestration in established sediment-covered basalt aquifers on the Juan de Fuca plate offer promising locations to securely accommodate more than a century of future U.S. emissions, warranting energized scientific research, technological assessment, and economic evaluation to establish a viable pilot injection program in the future.

Fig 1 Fig 2
Deep-sea basalt region for CO2 sequestration on Juan de Fuca plate. Sites investigated for potential deep-sea carbon sequestration.

Related links:

Project overview
Video presentation

Select Publications:

Slagle, A. L., and D. S. Goldberg (2011), Evaluation of ocean crustal sites 1256 and 504 for long-term CO2 sequestration, Geophysical Research Letters 38(16).

Goldberg, D. S., and A. L. Slagle (2009), A global assessment of deep-sea basalt sites for carbon sequestration, Energy Procedia 1(1): 3675-3682.

Goldberg, D. S., T. Takahashi, and A. L. Slagle (2008), Carbon dioxide sequestration in deep-sea basalt, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(29): 9920-9925.

Co-Location of Air Capture and Subseafloor CO2 Sequestration

David S. Goldberg, Klaus S. Lackner, Patrick Han, Angela S. Slagle and Tao Wang

Reducing atmospheric CO2 using a combination of air capture and offshore geological storage can address technical and policy concerns with climate mitigation. Because CO2 mixes rapidly in the atmosphere, air capture could operate anywhere and in principle reduce CO2 to preindustrial levels. We investigate the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Ocean, which offers steady wind resources, vast subseafloor storage capacities, and minimal risk of economic damages or human inconvenience and harm. The efficiency of humidity swing driven air capture under humid and windy conditions is tested in the laboratory. Powered by wind, we estimate ~75 Mt CO2/yr could be collected using air capture and sequestered below seafloor or partially used for synfuel. Our analysis suggests that Kerguelen offers a remote and environmentally secure location for CO2 sequestration using renewable energy. Regional reservoirs could hold over 1500 Gt CO2, sequestering a large fraction of 21st century emissions.

Fig 1 Fig 2
Map of Kerguelen Plateau in the southern Indian Ocean, with seafloor bathymetry and location of drill sites. Schematic of potential wind energy resource use on Kerguelen.

Related links:

Air Capture Program at the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy

Select Publications:

Goldberg D.S., Lackner K.S., Han P., Slagle A.L. and Wang T. Co-location of air capture, subseafloor CO2 sequestration, and energy production on the Kerguelen Plateau. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47(13): 7521-9.

Carbon Sequestration in Continental Basalts

David S. Goldberg, Dennis V. Kent, Paul E. Olsen, and Natalia V. Zakharova

Massive continental flood basalts and smaller igneous intrusions exist on many continents and represent a potentially important host medium for the geologic sequestration of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2). Injection into basalt formations provides unique and significant advantages, including large potential storage volumes and permanent fixation of carbon by mineralization. We analyze borehole geophysical and core data from a pilot CO2 sequestration project in the Columbia River flood basalts (Wallula, Washington, USA), and the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (the East Coast, USA). The Wallula Pilot project is the first field test specifically designed to confirm the feasibility of permanently and safely sequestering of CO2 within deep flood basalt formations. The porous flow tops in these deep flood basalts may offer reservoirs with high mineralization rates, long leakage migration paths, and thick sections of caprock for CO2 storage. The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province basalt flows in the South Georgia basin, the New York Bight basin, and the Sandy Hook basin offer promising basalt-hosted reservoirs with coniderable potential for CO2 sequestration due to their proximity to major metropolitan centers, and thus to large industrial sources for CO2. Onshore sites are suggested for cost-effective characterization studies of these reservoirs, although offshore sites may offer larger potential capacity and additional long-term advantages for safe and secure CO2 sequestration.

Fig 1 Fig 2
The areal extent of the Columbia River Basalt Group and the study site location. Schematic profile of the Columbia River Basalt intersected by the Wallula borehole.

Related links:

Wallula Pilot Project
Newark Basin Coring Project
Nature News Overview

Select Publications:

Zakharova, N. V., Goldberg, D. S., Sullivan, E. C., Herron, M. M., & Grau, J. A. (2012). Petrophysical and geochemical properties of Columbia River flood basalt: Implications for carbon sequestration. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 13(11).

Goldberg, D. S., D. V. Kent, and P. E. Olsen (2010), Potential on-shore and off-shore reservoirs for CO2 sequestration in Central Atlantic magmatic province basalts, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(4), 1327-1332.

Biogeochemical Monitoring of a CO2 Leak

David S. Goldberg, Jurg M. Matter, Taro Takahashi, Martin Stute, Gregory O'Mullan, Qiang Yang, M. Elias Dueker and Natalia V. Zakharova

The project investigates a shallow potable water aquifer system in sand/clay sequences of the Newark Basin group using laboratory and in situ experimental methods. The primary goal is to understand the fundamental biogeochemical processes caused by CO2 enrichment of aquifer water. The methodologies developed in this work will also be directly transferable to other sites affected by increased CO2 levels induced from CO2 sequestration in subterranean rock formations.


Related links:

EPA Project Page
Lamont Test Well
Coverage in Popular Mechanics

Select Publications:

Assayag, N., Matter, J., Ader, M., Goldberg, D., and Agrinier, P. (2009), Water–rock interactions during a CO2 injection field-test: Implications on host rock dissolution and alteration effects, Chemical geology 265(1), 227-235.

Matter, J. M., T. Takahashi, and D. S. Goldberg (2007), Experimental evaluation of in situ CO2-water-rock reactions during CO2 injection in basaltic rocks: Implications for geological CO2 sequestration, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 8(2).


In Situ Stress and Risk of Induced Seismicity from CO2 Injection

Natalia V. Zakharova and David S. Goldberg

Induced seismicity due to pore pressure increase presents a significant risk for carbon sequestration in fractured formations. In order to evaluate fracture stability, detailed knowledge of the in situ stress is required. High-resolution wellbore images allow identifying both natural discontinuities and drilling-induced failures indicative of the in situ stress regime. This study demonstrates an application of borehole techniques for stress analysis at a potential CO2-storage site in the Newark Rift basin in the northeastern U.S (TriCarb project). Effects of borehole deviation on wellbore failure and constraints on complete stress field have been determined. Stability of natural fractures at various depths was evaluated for a range of potential stress profiles. Preliminary analysis suggests that a significant capacity for pore pressure increase without fracture reactivation exists in deeper reservoirs, but additional in situ test data are needed for a more complete assessment of the induced seismic risk from potential CO2 injection in the region.

Fig 1 Fig 2
Study site location, and a schematic diagram of the TriCarb borehole indicating three potential reservoir-caprock pairs in the Passaic formation of the Newark Basin supergroup. Magnitudes of horizontal stresses at the top of reservoir layer 1 based on Coulomb faulting theory and Anderson's classification of faults.

Related links:

TriCarb Consortium for Carbon Sequestration
Drilling for Carbon-Storing Rocks in Suburban New York
Lamont projects on induced seismicity from underground injections

Select Publications:

Zakharova, N. V., D. S. Goldberg, and D. Collins (2013), In-Situ Stress Constraints from Borehole Data in the Context of CO2-Storage Site Characterization, Proceedings of the 47th US Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, 23-26 June 2013, San Francisco, California, USA.

Goldberg, D. S., T. Lupo, M. Caputi, C. Barton, and L. Seeber (2003), Stress regimes in the Newark basin rift: evidence from core and downhole data, The great rift valleys of Pangea in eastern North America, 1, 104-117.



Borehole Research Group at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, 61 RT 9W, Palisades, NY 10964