The Carbon Cycle Essay

1150 words - 5 pages

There are lots of natural processes constantly happening all around us, these processes are often linked by passing one type of atom to the next process which passes the same atom to the next one and so on. This ‘passing of the atom’ along a chain of processes is called a cycle, the series of processes in which the carbon atom goes through is called the carbon cycle. Each Carbon is the fourth most affluent element in the universe and is an important part of most molecules that make up most of the world’s natural resources and organic matter, which is why the carbon cycle is one of the most important cycles on earth. Through-out the cycle, carbon can become several different forms such ...view middle of the document...

When plants and animals die they are decomposed and converted into organic matter, which if buried by other organic materials such as soil and water, then left for numerous years the extreme pressure builds up and can cause the formation of fossil fuels. Depending on the amount of animal and plant debris present, how long the material was buried and the temperature, changes the kind of fossil fuel the matter will turn into.
The burning of coal and other carbon compounds is actually a chemical reaction, oxygen and the stored carbon react to each other, which releases the carbon as CO2 as well as energy and water. Currently the main contributor of carbon in the atmosphere the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels such as coal and oil are highly sought after because their combustion produces significant amounts of energy per unit weight, this makes fossil fuel extractions great assets to towns, often a whole towns economy will be based on one coal mine or oil barge. Excessive burnings like forest fires and the use of coal trains release vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. Some the carbon, contained in fossil fuels, which took the earth hundreds of thousands of years to bury, we have released in the last decade.
Volcanic activity
Another way for carbon to enter the atmosphere is by volcanic activity, volcanic gases consist mainly of water vapour, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. Tectonic plates can cause a subduction zone, where one plate slides beneath the other, carbonic rocks, such as marble and limestone, are pulled towards the centre of the earth where the rocks melted and released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide can be released through volcanic eruptions, volcanic vents or even CO2 hot springs heated by liquid magma.

The removal of carbon to the atmosphere
Carbon is being taken from the atmosphere by photosynthesis of plants and oceanic absorption. The ocean holds 8.8 billion tonnes of the world’s carbon where-as all the land its self holds 9.5 billion tonnes.
Photosynthesis is the process in which green plants use the energy from the sun turns carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose, sometimes the glucose is turned into sugar/carbohydrates then wood. Sunlight is one of...

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