A new study provides the first quantitative measurement of in situ calcium-magnesium silicate mineral dissolution by ants, termites, tree roots, and bare ground. The study shows that ants are one of the most powerful biological agents of mineral decay yet observed. It may be that an understanding of the geobiology of ant-mineral interactions might offer a line of research on how to “geoengineer” accelerated CO2 consumption by Ca-Mg silicates.
Researcher Ronald Dorn of Arizona State University said that over geological timescales, the dissolution of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) bearing silicates has led to the gradual drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through the accumulation of limestone and dolomite. Many contemporary efforts to sequester CO2 involve burial, with some negative environmental consequences.