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Earthquakes can remove carbon from atmosphere, study finds

Image: Radio NZ

Large earthquakes and landslides along New Zealand’s alpine fault line in the South Island may play a significant role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, a sediment analysis has found.

The study found that landslides triggered by earthquakes can create carbon sinks by felling and shifting mountain forest vegetation into rivers, where the debris breaks down and is buried in river sediment.

A sediment analysis conducted at Lake Paringa, on the west coast of the South Island, showed that earthquakes “both mobilise and bury large amounts of carbon”.  

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