<< back to list of all areas of research

Deep Carbon

A 10-year global quest to discover the quantity, movements, forms, and origins of Earth’s deep carbon; to probe the secrets of volcanoes and diamonds, sources of gas and oil, and life’s deep limits and origins; and to report the known, unknown, and unknowable by 2019.

DCO aims to create legacies of instruments measuring at great depths, temperatures, and pressures; networks sensing fluxes of carbon-containing gases and fluids between the depths and the surface; open access databases about deep carbon; deep carbon researchers integrating geology, physics, chemistry, and biology; insights improving energy systems; and a public more engaged with deep carbon science.

Jesse Ausubel helped the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation establish the DCO in 2009 and continues to act as Science Advisor to the Sloan Foundation in its role as a sponsor of the DCO.

Access the Deep Carbon Observatory website at (www.deepcarbon.net)

For some DCO news relating to PHE, see:

7 December 2016

The Deep Carbon Observatory, which Jesse Ausubel has helped create and manage, offers some new short, enjoyable videos about its work.  For example,

Deep life

Volcano prediction

8 October 2016

Deep Carbon Observatory researchers have created an eye-popping animation that shows volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and associated emissions since 1960…and reveals the seamy structure of the Earth.  See the press release about Exhaling Earth and the 70-second E3 animation.

Coverage includes

Washington Post

Watch Earth pulse with earthquakes and eruptions in this stunning visualization

Daily Mail

Global system could help predict cataclysmic supervolcano eruptions


Volcano insight: Fifty years of eruptions revealed


Una aplicación compila todas las erupciones volcánicas desde 1960


Eruzioni e terremoti, 50 anni di dati in un’app

New York Times

What 50 Years of Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions Look Like

Congratulations to Liz Cottrell, Tobias Fischer, Marie Edmonds and Co. on super science!

9 September 2016

Deep Carbon Observatory researchers set off on quest to find the top temperature limit for life.  Jesse, who helps manage the program for the Sloan Foundation, will join the shore-based team for a few days in early October.  You can enter your own guess for the limit and win a prize!

2 November 2015

Jesse offered the closing remarks in Italian at the 9 October symposium of the Deep Carbon Observatory at the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome.  An English translation is also included at the link.

22 April 2015

Jesse Ausubel’s short essay,Methane Hydrates and the Deep Carbon Observatory, about the recently published Frozen Heat report, has been posted on the DCO website.

15 December 2014

Deep carbon science is rising.  A Press release highlights publication of the Deep Carbon Observatory’s midterm scientific report and participation at the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting, 15-19 December 2014 in San Francisco, USA.   Jesse Ausubel continues to advise the program and marvel at the abundance of methane and hydrogen.

10 December 2013

The Deep Carbon Observatory announced exciting discoveries about hard rock life and production of hydrogen to feed the life by cooking water, rock, and aluminum oxide together. Here are news stories about the discoveries by Reuters, The Independent newspaper, EFE  (the Spanish news wire), and New Energy and Fuel.  And in Chinese and Russian.

5 June 2013

Yikes, we realize we never posted the 4 March news of the release of the baseline report of the Deep Carbon Observatory. The Press Release, which Jesse helped draft with Terry Collins, provides an excellent summary of the DCO program. The baseline is the landmark, freely available (open access) volume Carbon in Earth and its […]

19 March 2013

In 2008, with Robert Hazen and Russell Hemley of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Jesse helped initiate the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The DCO recently passed a major milestone with the publication of its 700-page baseline report, Carbon in Earth. A press release summarizes some of the […]

23 December 2009

The new international Deep Carbon Observatory http://dco.ciw.edu/ led by Robert Hazen and Russ Hemley has launched its website.  Jesse and Veselin Kostov have helped initiate the DCO and look forward to many discoveries. Enjoy Bob Hazen’s excellent radio interview on Science Friday.

Publications about Deep Carbon

1162 RM Hazen, JH Ausubel. On the nature and significance of rarity in mineralogy (PDF). American Mineralogist 101: 2016 On the nature and significance of rarity in mineralogy,

1160 JH Ausubel. Self-sinking capsules to investigate Earth’s interior and dispose of radioactive waste (PDF). Seminar Presentation 26 July 2011, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Program of Study in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. 2011 Self-sinking capsules to investigate Earth’s interior and dispose of radioactive waste,