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The findings are the result of a research collaboration between Victoria University of Wellington, Durham University in the United Kingdom, the University of Otago and GNS Science.
"According to our findings, large earthquakes along New Zealand's Alpine Fault both mobilise and bury large amounts of carbon and in doing so may remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere," says Dr. Jamie Howarth from Victoria University of Wellington's School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.
Link - Earthquakes - Carbon - Dioxide - Levels
To determine the link between large earthquakes and carbon dioxide levels, researchers examined sediments that have accumulated over the past thousand years at the bottom of Lake Paringa in the Southern Alps.
"We measured the levels of carbon isotopes present in the sediment during and after earthquakes to show that earthquakes on the fault produced over 43 percent of the carbon in the biosphere released from the Alps," Dr. Howarth says.
Professor - Sean - Fitzsimons - University - Otago
According to Professor Sean Fitzsimons from the University of Otago, simulations of earthquake triggered landslides suggest that 14 million tonnes of carbon are released during each Alpine Fault earthquake.
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