Research Component: Properties and Applications of Overdoped High-Temperature Superconductors
The atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been increasing dramatically in the past century. Proposals to mitigate the risks include sequestering CO2 in underground, geological repositories. Geological sequestration which involves CO2 injection into geologic formations for large-scale carbon storage is currently being tested at a few sites. While CO2 sequestration is considered relatively safe there are some risks when the stored CO2 may escape by leakage via faults or fractures. Environmental impacts may include groundwater quality degradation, damage to hydrocarbon and/or mineral resources and deleterious impacts on biota. Our aim is to get a predictive understanding of changes in the biogeochemistry of soils and the concomitant changes in water quality caused by leakage of subsurface CO2, and the possible impacts on biota, specifically bryophytes. The effects of CO2 leakage are sometimes subtle and our group proposes to fill a critical knowledge gap by developing geochemical or biological markers that provide indications of a CO2 stressed system before more advanced effects are observed. Faculty with expertise in geochemistry, biology, remote sensing, and modeling, have come together to build a partnership with the CREST team at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) to create a truly multi-disciplinary team that is necessary to conduct a study of this nature and magnitude. Current activities, centered on training and education, include conducting background research related to biogeochemical changes of water chemistry in the presence of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations and a survey of bryophytes in and around the tree-kill area in Mammoth Lakes, CA. The site is considered a natural analogue for a CO2 sequestration site because natural CO2 escapes to the surface making the area a natural laboratory to study the impacts of escaping CO2. The elevated CO2 in the soils is blamed for the scores of dead trees seen in the area. Future studies include laboratory experiments to study effect on elevated carbon dioxide on water chemistry and bryophyte growth. The final piece of the puzzle will be to develop remote sensing tools to monitor CO2 distribution across the area and map changes in vegetation patterns.
Mr. Armond Khodagulyan(Alumni)