We recently wrote about how the world survived past global warming. More rain and higher sea levels eroded leached calcium and magnesium from rocks into the ocean, where it became bound to the dissolved CO2, forming the harmless substance calcium carbonate and reducing the amount of carbon dioxide. Over a period of many years, the Earth returned to normal. Now farmers in Scotland say they can speed up this process with a special fertilizer made from volcanic dust.
Paul Kelbie writes in The Independent that Cameron and Moira Thomson got the unwanted rock dust from a nearby quarry. They mixed it with compost and spread it on their fields, creating rich soil that produced cabbages the size of footballs, onions bigger than coconuts and gooseberries as large as plums. Before their experiment, nothing had grown there for 50 years.
The calcium and magnesium in the dust they use converts atmospheric carbon dioxide into calcium carbonate. This mimics the glacial cycles which naturally fertilize the land. As the Earth warms after an ice age and the glaciers retreat, they leave deposits of calcium carbonate behind, which brings the weather back into balance by reducing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
"We are walking into another ice age unless we do something now," says Cameron Thomson. "If we burn fossil fuels at today's rates, atmospheric carbon could be kept stable if we covered the earth soils with between 0.8 and 3.2 tons of rock dust per acre."
Never give up the search?there's always an answer somewhere.
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