Detailed knowledge of the geochemistry of CO2, the signature molecule of the 21st century, is a modern day requirement for almost all geochemists. Concerns over CO2 driven contemporary climate change, its relationship to past climates in Earth history, skills required for geologic CO2 sequestration, and the rapid emergence of ocean acidification as an environmental threat are all prime subject matter for the literate geoscientist today. In this issue of Geology, Carey et al. (2013, p. 1035) describe a new, interesting, and quite powerful natural example of the intersection of these concerns in describing the build-up of a large body of acidic, dense CO2 rich sea water in the shallow crater of the Kolumbo volcano close to the Mediterranean island of Santorini. They present this finding in the context of a geochemical hazard to humans and as a natural test bed for CO2 sequestration leakage from shallow injection. How real are these concerns, how similar are the situations to known threats, what strategies could be taken, and how useful an analog is this finding to the broad discussion over world-wide ocean acidification or the specific concerns over leakage from geologic CO2 sequestration?
Brewer P. G., 2013. A different ocean acidification hazard – the Kolumbo submarine volcano example. Geology 41(9): 1039-1040. Article.