Rock organic carbon from glacial runoff, once assumed to be non-bioavailable, is identified as a substrate used by marine sedimentary microbes. This challenges the traditional view that rock organic carbon bypasses the active carbon cycle and indicates an additional source of fossil greenhouse-gas emissions on geological, or possibly even shorter, timescales.
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This is a summary of: Ruben, M. et al. Fossil organic carbon utilization in marine Arctic fjord sediments by subsurface micro-organisms. Nat. Geosci. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-023-01198-z (2023).
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Fossil greenhouse-gas emission from microbial use of rock-derived organic carbon. Nat. Geosci. 16, 558–559 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-023-01199-y