Image: A rock outcrop in Gordon Gulch, Colo., with Stephen Martel (University of Hawaii) pictured in the foreground. Photo: Taylor Perron [Click image to enlarge]
A new study, Geophysical imaging reveals topographic stress control of bedrock weathering (St. Clair et al., 2015), was published in Science. The study suggests tectonic stresses interact with topography to influence bedrock weathering. Investigators took geophysical surveys to capture bedrock fracturing at three sites; Boulder Creek and Calhoun CZOs, and Pond Branch, Maryland. These measurements combined with a three-dimensional stress model show bedrock erostion rates mirror changes in topography. This research was a collabrative effort between investgators from University of Wyoming, MIT, University of Hawaii; and Boulder Creek, Calhoun and Christina CZOs.
A Perspective piece on this study was also published in Science by Robert Anderson (Boulder Creek CZO), Pinched topography initiates the critical zone.
The video below by Melanie Gonick of MIT News, describes this research and how it pertains the thickness of bedrock within the Critical Zone. The source of the video and the accompanying article from MIT News can be found at the following link: http://news.mit.edu/2015/bedrock-weathering-based-on-topography-1029.
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Geophysical imaging reveals topographic stress control of bedrock weathering. St. Clair, J., S. Moon, W. S. Holbrook, J. T. Perron, C. S. Riebe, S. J. Martel, B. Carr, C. Harman, K. Singha, D. deB. Richter (2015): Science, 30 October 2015, Vol. 350, no. 6260, pp. 534-538