An experimental study of basalt–seawater–CO2 interaction at 130 °C

Martin Voigt*, Chiara Marieni, Andre Baldermann, Iwona M. Galeczka, Domenik Wolff-Boenisch, Eric H. Oelkers, Sigurdur R. Gislason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over millions of years, the interaction of marine basalt with percolating seawater in low-temperature ocean floor hydrothermal systems leads to the formation of calcite and aragonite. The presence of these minerals in marine basalts provides evidence for substantial CO2 fixation in these rocks. Here, we report on laboratory experiments to study this process under enhanced CO2 partial pressures (pCO2) at 130 °C. Mid-ocean-ridge-basalt (MORB) glass was reacted with North Atlantic Seawater charged with CO2 in batch experiments lasting up to 7 months. For experiments initiated with seawater charged with ~2.5 bar pCO2, calcite and aragonite are the first carbonate minerals to form, later followed by only aragonite (±siderite and ankerite). For experiments initiated with seawater charged with ~16 bar pCO2, magnesite was the only carbonate mineral observed to form. In total, approximately 20% of the initial CO2 in the reactors was mineralized within five months. This carbonation rate is similar to corresponding rates observed in freshwater-basalt-CO2 interaction experiments and during field experiments of the carbonation of basalts in response to CO2-charged freshwater injections in SW-Iceland. Our experiments thus suggest that CO2-charged seawater injected into submarine basalts will lead to rapid CO2 mineralization. Notably, at pCO2 of tens of bars, magnesite will form, limiting the formation of Mg-rich clays, which might otherwise compete for the Mg cation and pore-space in the submarine basaltic crust. This suggests that the injection of CO2-charged seawater into subsurface basalts can be an efficient and effective approach to the long-term safe mineral storage of anthropogenic carbon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-41
Number of pages21
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • CarbFix
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Carbon storage
  • Climate change mitigation
  • CO mineralization
  • Fluid-rock interaction
  • Mineral carbon storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science


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