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Diving 200 feet under the ocean surface to conduct scientific research can lead to some interesting places. For University of Texas at Austin Professor Bayani Cardenas, it placed him in the middle of a champagne-like environment of bubbling carbon dioxide with off-the-chart readings of the greenhouse gas.
Cardenas discovered the region—which he calls "Soda Springs"—while studying how groundwater from a nearby island could affect the ocean environment of the Verde Island Passage in the Philippines. The passage is one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world and is home to thriving coral reefs.
Bubbling - Location - Cardenas - Video - Climate
The amazing bubbling location, which Cardenas captured on video, is not a climate change nightmare. It is linked to a nearby volcano that vents out the gases through cracks in the ocean floor and has probably been doing so for decades or even millennia. However, Cardenas said that the high CO2 levels could make Soda Springs an ideal spot for studying how coral reefs may cope with climate change. The site also offers a fascinating setting to study corals and marine life that are making a home among high levels of CO2.
"These high CO2 environments that are actually close to thriving reefs, how does it work?" said Cardenas, who is a professor in the Jackson School of Geosciences at UT Austin. "Life is still thriving there, but perhaps not the kind that we are used to. They need to be studied."
Cardenas - Coauthors - Institutions - Philippines - Netherlands
Cardenas and his coauthors from institutions in the Philippines, the Netherlands and UT described Soda Springs along with multiple scientific findings about groundwater in a paper published this month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
The scientists measured CO2 concentrations as high as 95,000 parts per million (ppm), more than 200 times the concentration of CO2 found in the atmosphere. The readings range from 60,000 to 95,000 and...
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