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US researcher to study impact of Himalayan hot springs

world Updated: Nov 05, 2009 16:29 IST

An American researcher would lead a study in India and Nepal to investigate the long term impact of Himalayan hot springs on the global carbon cycle.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Geology at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Matthew Evans, has received a grant of more than USD 100,000 from the National Science Foundation in this regard, an official release said, adding that the programme is part of a collaborative effort between Wheaton and Cornell University.

Speaking about his research, Evans said it offers a different possibility from the 'traditional' thought -- the formation of mountains reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide.

It was earlier thought that through a series of chemical reactions, CO2 from the atmosphere combines with water to form a weak acid, which then breaks down minerals within these mountain belts.

"Our work has shown that the hot springs are bringing to the surface as much, if not more, CO2 than is being removed by these chemical weathering processes," he said.

"Up to this point, delivery of CO2 from mountain ranges hasn't been considered a significant source.

So this finding represents a significant shift in the current paradigm, and has impacts on our understanding of the relationship between tectonics, climate and the carbon cycle," he added.