Exploring geochemical landscapes at depth in the critical zone
Water, gas, and biota interact with bedrock to create and maintain regolith. Regolith nourishes human and non-human ecosystems, but our understanding of how it forms is poor at best. A new phrase has been coined to denote all the aspects of the surface earth from vegetation canopy to groundwater: the critical zone (CZ). Around the globe, scientists are exploring the CZ as one unit from the surface to depths of groundwater to glean new insights. We are using geochemical and geophysical tools to learn how the deep architecture of the critical zone – including the distribution of subsurface reaction fronts -- controls water availability to plants and microbial communities. When geochemical observations of the CZ made in carefully chosen locations are paired with geophysical measurements across hillslopes, ridges, and watersheds, they inform more successful hydrologic and soil formation models. In the future we may be able to stop treating the subsurface as a black box but rather as a self-organizing system that we can understand and protect.
Prof. Susan BRANTLEY, Pennstate University, State College United States
Date and schedule: 17th September 2019 15:00 to 17:00
Venue: LIST - 41, rue du Brill L-4422 BELVAUX