This drawing shows the carbon cycle on Earth. A majority of the carbon is held in the carbonate rocks underneath the soil. Carbon is exchanged between the atmosphere and ocean, while plants and trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Also notice that carbon is released through the soils and by factories.
Click on image for full size
Carbon can be found in many different places on Earth. You can find it in rocks, trees, oceans and in groundwater. It is also found as a gas in carbon dioxide, or CO2.
Just as H2O circulates between the atmosphere, the ground, and ocean waters in the water cycle, CO2 also circulates between these three reservoirs, solidifing as rock, dissolving out of rock into the water, baked out of rock into the air, or being absorbed directly into the waters at the Earth's surface. The transfer of CO2 between the air, water, and the ground is called the carbon cycle.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes fun classroom activities
for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!