This article discusses how adding crushed volcanic rock to soil can improve crop yield and slow down climate change. Planet-warming carbon dioxide could be absorbed using ‘enhanced rock weathering,’ a natural process sped up to fight climate change.
Pulverizing volcanic rock and spreading the dust like fertilizer on farm soils could suck billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere and boost crop yields on a warming planet with a growing population.
In a paper published recently in the scientific journal Nature Plants, an international team of researchers lays out the prospects for “enhanced rock weathering”—a process that uses pulverized silicate rocks, like basalt, to speed the ability of minerals to store carbon in soil.
The team, led by the University of Sheffield in the U.K. and including U.S. climate scientist James Hansen, says the technique of enhanced weathering on swaths of the world’s cropland could potentially offset a meaningful chunk of global carbon emissions.