Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center

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USGS Cooperative Research on CO2 Sequestration Using Ultramafic and Carbonate Rocks

Reducing CO2 in the atmosphere that is emitted from fossil fuel-fired power plants will require a range of carbon management and sequestration options. Two emerging carbon storage methods are mineral CO2 sequestration (also known as mineral carbonation) and accelerated weathering of limestone (AWL). One responsibility of the USGS in CO2 sequestration studies is to provide critical geologic information to underpin the chemical and industrial research and development.

One of the first tasks to address the viability of both of these approaches is to estimate the available mineral reserves. For this initial estimation, the USGS has produced national-scale geologic maps that show magnesium-rich ultramafic and calcium-rich limestone rocks. These maps were produced in cooperation with researchers from the Earth Institute at Columbia University (, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Both national-scale maps detail the geographical distribution and extent of rocks suitable for mineral carbon sequestration and accelerated weathering of limestone.

Maps of US power plant distance to limestone and suitable ultramafic rocks.
Left map shows distance from coastal power plants and cement plants to potential sources of limestone. Right map shows ultramafic rocks suitable for mineral CO2 sequestration.

Mineral Resources Program
Eastern Central GMEG Alaska Minerals Information Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Spatial Data