Basalt rock dust removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in two ways. Most researchers primarily focus on chemical reactions between elements in basalt that chemically combine with carbon dioxide producing rock carbonates that permanently remove carbon dioxide from the world’s carbon cycle. This is valuable but represents only a small fraction of the good that rock dust can do. Numerous studies show sharply greater plant growth especially on badly demineralized soils which exist in so many areas. Here is a recent study that showed great results.
A research team within the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation led a study that incorporated finely crushed basalt rock dust into agricultural soils for sorghum. Their findings showed that this greatly improved crop yields and stored impressive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere in the remineralized soil.
“Enhanced rock weathering” is the term utilized by climate and soil scientists like those at the Leverhulme Center for Climate Change Mitigation to refer to the remineralization of soils with an emphasis on capturing carbon to stabilize the climate.
When it comes to feeding the world’s population and keeping climate change in check, few proposed approaches are as attractive as soil remineralization. Introducing the right minerals into soils provides nutrients for plants and elements that react with carbon dioxide (CO₂), pulling it out of the air and into the ground where it could potentially be stored for centuries.
Compared to plants with untreated soil, basalt rock dust treated soils revealed a 21% crop increase. The sorghum absorbed 26% more silicon, increasing the plants’ ability to fight off fungal pathogens, resist pests, and increase their stem strength. Basalt rock dust also increased carbon capture fourfold.
In the long term, remineralized plants are naturally more resistant to insect predation, but rock dust can be used in the short term for an insect infestation. Insects have a naturally waxy protective covering, which normally keeps them from drying out. When directly sprayed on insects, the rock dust interferes with this covering, gets into the segments, and disables them. During an infestation, this can restore insect balance.
This study ultimately demonstrates that enhanced rock weathering using basalt rock dust on sorghum shows prominent results in increasing crop yields, establishing insect balance, and capturing carbon.
You can learn a lot more by visiting http://www.remineralize.org and reading the articles and watching the videos. Remineralizing trees is of particular benefit with improved health and growth sequestering carbon over a long period of time. Today many forests are sick and sometimes have more dead and dying trees than vital one so instead of sequestering carbon they are emitting it from decay and worse fire.
There is no free lunch but we can do amazing things by increasing photosynthesis and boosting the amazing soil life to actually make the world carbon negative while we still use oil and gas. It will take a massive global effort but will lead to a more vital and sustainable world that can support man and the animals. If you haven’t already signed up for our newsletter and updates please do. Donations to the Get Real Alliance will promote research and awareness to this vital solution.