Where Can Carbon Be Found?

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Carbon is found in the sun and other stars formed from the debris of a previous supernova. Carbon is built up by nuclear fusion in bigger stars. Carbon exists in the atmospheres of many planets, usually as carbon dioxide. Graphite is found naturally in many places, and diamond is found in crystal form in meteorites. Carbon is also found in all living things.

In addition, natural diamonds are found in the mineral kimberlite, which exists in South Africa, Arkansas and some other places. Diamonds are also found on the ocean floor off the Cape of Good Hope. Carbon is also found in the fossilized remains of living things as hydrocarbon gases, crude oil, oil shales, coal and other substances. It is also found in the form of carbonates such as chalk limestone and dolomite.

Since all living things contain carbon, it was once though to hold a “spark of life.” Living things get almost all of their carbon from carbon dioxide, through the atmosphere or dissolved in water. Carbon dioxide is produced through photosynthesis in green plants and photosynthetic plankton. Living things that do not photosynthesize must rely on consuming other living things to obtain the carbon molecules they need.