The rate of natural carbonation of tectonically exposed mantle peridotite during weathering and low-temperature alteration can be enhanced to develop a significant sink for atmospheric CO2. Natural carbonation of peridotite in the Samail ophiolite, an uplifted slice of oceanic crust and upper mantle in the Sultanate of Oman, is surprisingly rapid. Carbonate veins in mantle peridotite in Oman have an average C-14 age of approximate to 26,000 years, and are not 30-95 million years old as previously believed. These data and reconnaissance mapping show that approximate to 10(4) to 10(5) tons per year of atmospheric CO2 are converted to solid carbonate minerals via peridotite weathering in Oman. Peridotite carbonation can be accelerated via drilling, hydraulic fracture, input of purified CO2 at elevated pressure, and, in particular, increased temperature at depth. After an initial heating step, CO2 pumped at 25 or 30 degrees C can be heated by exothermic carbonation reactions that sustain high temperature and rapid reaction rates at depth with little expenditure of energy. In situ carbonation of peridotite could consume > 1 billion tons of CO2 per year in Oman alone, affording a low-cost, safe, and permanent method to capture and store atmospheric CO2.
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