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Covering Fields In Rock Dust Could Help Fight Climate Change

Covering fields in rock dust could help fight climate change, improve soil quality and crop yields, and even help reverse ocean acidification. This approach could absorb huge amounts of CO2 if used globally.

How it works

Farmers spread a crushed volcanic rock called basalt onto their fields. Rain absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it falls. It reacts with the volcanic dust to form carbonates, which are minerals that lock in carbon. These minerals help farmers by replenishing depleted soils. Eventually, they are washed into the sea, where they reduce ocean acidification.

Potential benefits of rock dust

The potential benefits of covering fields in rock dust are significant. It could help to:

  • Remove CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate climate change.
  • Improve soil quality, leading to higher crop yields.
  • Reduce ocean acidification, which is harmful to marine life.

Cost and feasibility

The cost of covering fields in rock dust is relatively low. The main challenge is the logistics of transporting and spreading the rock dust. However, this could be overcome by using local sources of rock dust and developing efficient spreading methods.

Scientists recommend focusing on tropical regions for this approach, as the weathering process works faster in warmer environments. This also means that it will keep working as climate change turns up the heat.

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