Tracking carbon from subduction to outgassing along the Aleutian-Alaska Volcanic Arc
Date of Original Version
Subduction transports volatiles between Earth’s mantle, crust, and atmosphere, ultimately creating a habitable Earth. We use isotopes to track carbon from subduction to outgassing along the Aleutian-Alaska Arc. We find substantial along-strike variations in the isotopic composition of volcanic gases, explained by different recycling efficiencies of subducting carbon to the atmosphere via arc volcanism and modulated by subduction character. Fast and cool subduction facilitates recycling of ~43 to 61% sediment-derived organic carbon to the atmosphere through degassing of central Aleutian volcanoes, while slow and warm subduction favors forearc sediment removal, leading to recycling of ~6 to 9% altered oceanic crust carbon to the atmosphere through degassing of western Aleutian volcanoes. These results indicate that less carbon is returned to the deep mantle than previously thought and that subducting organic carbon is not a reliable atmospheric carbon sink over subduction time scales.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Lopez, Taryn, Tobias P. Fischer, Terry Plank, Alberto Malinverno, Andrea L. Rizzo, Daniel J. Rasmussen, Elizabeth Cottrell, Cynthia Werner, Christoph Kern, Deborah Bergfeld, Tehnuka Ilanko, Janine L. Andrys, and Katherine A. Kelley. "Tracking carbon from subduction to outgassing along the Aleutian-Alaska Volcanic Arc." Science Advances 9, 26 (2023). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adf3024.