Impact of geogenic CO2 on the deep biosphere

The project investigates the effect of geogenic CO2 on deep microbial communities and their surrounding sedimentary life habitat and can be considered as natural analog for a probable leakage of a CO2 storage reservoir. The project is part of a set of pre-studies for the ICDP project “Probing of Intra-continental magmatic activity: drilling the Eger Rift (PIER)” and is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Within the scope of these pre-studies GFZ drilled a nearly 110 m deep borehole into a mofette system near the small village of Hartoušov (Cheb Basin, NW Bohemia). A mofette is a natural cold either wet or dry CO2 degassing structure. The Hartoušov mofette is located in an area characterized by active seismicity in form of periodically occurring swarm earthquakes and permanent lithospheric mantle-derived CO2 gas emanations. The exhaling gas shows a relative heavy carbon isotope signal and is probably integrated into microbial metabolism. Furthermore, the ascending CO2, dissolved in the ground- or formation water, forms an acid interacting with the surrounding mineral matrix due to dissolution and precipitation processes. The objective of the project is to investigate the interaction of the ascending CO2 with present and past microbial life (bacteria and archaea) as well as with the surrounding mineral life habitat. In this context the interaction with microbial communities are examined by microbial cell membrane lipids and their carbon isotope composition. Furthermore, the influence of CO2 on the mineral matrix during early diagenesis is determined by microscopy (SEM, FIB-TEM).


  • Dr. Kai Mangelsdorf
  • PD Dr. Hans-Martin Schulz
  • Karsten Adler (Doktorand)


  • Prof. Dr. Dirk Wagner, Dr. Mashal Alawi, Qi Liu, Section 5.3, GFZ
  • Dr. Horst Kämpf, Section 3.2, GFZ
  • Dr. Robert Bussert, Technical University Berlin, Applied Geosciences
  • Dr. Tobias Nickschick, Universität Leipzig, Institut für Geophysik und Geologie
  • Dr. Birgit Plessen, Sektion 5.2, GFZ


  • DFG
back to top of main content