In an astonishing finding, Scientists said that the eroding mountains can add carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. Scientists have previously believed that the steep mountains draw the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. When a erosion occurs, it exposes new rocks as a result, a chemical reaction occurs between the minerals on hill slopes and CO2 in the air.
This new findings done by scientists goes against a long-standing hypothesis in which it said that the mountains help in reducing the CO2 from the atmosphere. According to a study done by researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution or WHOI said in a paper released on April 12th, 2018 in Journal Science where the scientists said that the erosion process is new source of addition of CO2 to the atmosphere and it is a fast process.
The scientists said that the rocks do not produce the CO2 but the CO2 are produced by the tiny microbes that are present in the mountains which eat the eroding rocks. When the rocks are broken down, they released the trapped organic carbon gas into the air and microbes feed on these minerals release CO2 as a byproduct.
This new discovery surfaced when the researchers are studying the erosion cycle of the mountain chain in Taiwan. This steep-sided mountain range has faced more than three major typhoons each year and get eroded by heavy rains and winds. Hemingway and his colleagues examined the samples of the soil, river sediments, and bedrock from the central range and the findings make them surprised.
According to the WHOI marine geochemist Valier Galy, who is the senior author and Hemingway’s advisor said in a program by MIT/WHOI that “ We do not yet know exactly which bacteria are doing this- that would require genomics, metagenomics and other microbiological tools that we didn’t use in this study.”