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Geologists testing aquifer rocks as containers to permanently trap carbon dioxide
Date:7/9/2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Two Kansas State University geologists are part of a comprehensive statewide study on using rocks for long-term storage of carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a gas that is a byproduct of respiration and burning fossil fuels and heat sources, among other causes. Studies have linked increased carbon dioxide production to climate change.

"Currently, more carbon dioxide is being produced by various sources, both natural and anthropogenic, and is going into the atmosphere," said Saugata Datta, assistant professor of geology who is leading the university's involvement in the project. "This study is not to look at what carbon dioxide does to the atmosphere, but rather how to sequester it and keep it from reaching the atmosphere in the first place."

Datta and Robin Barker, master's student in geology, Arnoldsville, Ga., are studying the geochemical effectiveness of trapping and storing carbon dioxide by injecting it more than 5,000 feet underground in the Arbuckle aquifer under Kansas. The aquifer has a thick layer of porous rock that scientists believe could permanently store carbon dioxide. It also contains groundwater with such high salt concentrations that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has deemed it unsafe to drink.

According to Datta, determining whether the rocks of the Arbuckle are effective for permanently storing carbon dioxide could be beneficial to manufacturing and production industries, which currently monitor carbon dioxide production levels due to regulations.

The aquifer is one of 10 throughout the nation that is being studied. Scientists from other national institutions and universities are conducting similar projects in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The study at Kansas State University is threefold. For the first portion -- already in progress -- Datta and Barker are using water and rock core samp
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Contact: Saugata Datta
sdatta@k-state.edu
785-532-2241
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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