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Underground, much of the carbon is in fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas. At the surface, much of the carbon exists in rocks, such as limestone. Limestone is made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). It can be found in sediment deposits along rivers and roads; it is also the main ingredient in seashells. Earth’s land reservoirs play an important role in long-term carbon storage. In fact, they store carbon for very long periods of time. The carbon in limestone, for example, may remain in a land reservoir for thousands of years.

The decomposition of the remains and wastes of living things by bacteria and other soil organisms also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by fires and other types of burning, including the burning of fossil fuels and erupting volcanoes. Some of the carbon released by decomposition may be washed into rivers and the ocean. Some of it may be taken up by other living things for use in their life processes. Some of it may be buried in sediments and, over long periods of time, converted to fossil fuels.

Org/wiki/Carbon_cycle#In_the_biosphere How Carbon Exits the Land Carbon exits the land in many different ways, some of them natural and some the result of human activity. Either way, however, carbon does not easily leave the land. Volcanic explosions and the weathering of rocks are two ways carbon naturally leaves the land. When a volcano erupts, it releases material such as carbon-containing gases and rocks. The eruption moves the carbon from the land to the atmosphere. The carbon contained in rocks on Earth’s surface is released when weathering occurs.

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