Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Research Briefing
  • Published:

Tectonics regulate CO2 release more strongly than chemical weathering in central Italy

In a part of the Apennines, where the Earth’s crust is thin and heat flow is high, production of CO2 from deep below the mountains dominates over near-surface weathering processes that consume this greenhouse gas. Ultimately, the magnitude of deep CO2 release tips the balance towards a landscape that is a net carbon emitter.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Cross-section across the central Apennines showing the major patterns in CO2 fluxes, heat flow and depth of the crust.


  1. Urey, H. C. On the early chemical history of the earth and the origin of life. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. 38, 351–363 (1952). This paper discusses the chemical makeup of the early Earth and the conditions that could have produced an oxidized atmosphere capable of supporting life.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Torres, M. A. et al. The acid and alkalinity budgets of weathering in the Andes–Amazon system: Insights into the erosional control of global biogeochemical cycles. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 450, 381–391 (2016). This paper explores the links between tectonics and the long-term carbon cycle, highlighting the importance of CO2 release from sulfuric acid weathering of carbonate rock, as a buffer to CO2 drawdown from silicate weathering.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Hilton, R. G. & West, A. J. Mountains, erosion and the carbon cycle. Nat. Rev. Earth Environ. 1, 284–299 (2020). A review article on the interactions between mountain building and the carbon cycle, focusing on the primary mechanisms for CO2 drawdown and release in the near-surface environment.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Mörner, N.-A. & Etiope, G. Carbon degassing from the lithosphere. Glob. Planet. Change 33, 185–203 (2002). A review article that presents CO2 degassing estimates from deep, volcanic and non-volcanic sources, and their broad impact on the global CO2 budget.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Kerrick, D. M. & Caldeira, K. Metamorphic CO2 degassing from orogenic belts. Chem. Geol. 145, 213–232 (1998). A review article that assesses the magnitude of metamorphic CO2 degassing from mountain belts during the present and in the geologic past.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This is a summary of: Erlanger, E. et al. Deep CO2 release and the carbon budget of the central Apennines modulated by geodynamics. Nat. Geosci. (2024).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tectonics regulate CO2 release more strongly than chemical weathering in central Italy. Nat. Geosci. 17, 383–384 (2024).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing