The element carbon is a part of seawater, the atmosphere, rocks such as limestone and coal, soils, as well as all living things. On our dynamic planet, carbon is able to move from one of these realms to another as a part of the carbon cycle. It is one of the important cycle of atoms and is known as carbon biochemical cycle. Following are the steps involved in the carbon cycle:
- Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants. In the atmosphere, carbon is attached to oxygen in a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). Through the process of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is pulled from the air to produce food made from carbon for plant growth.
- Carbon moves from plants to animals through food chains.
- When plants and animals die, their bodies, woods and leaves decays bringing the carbon into the ground. Some is buried and will become fossil fuels in million and million of years.
- Through respiration carbon moves from living things to the atmosphere.
- Carbon moves from fossil fuels to the atmosphere when fuels are burned.
- Carbon moves from the atmosphere to the oceans. The oceans, and other bodies of water, absorb some carbon from the atmosphere. The carbon is dissolved into the water.