Colloids, particles small enough to remain almost permanently in suspension, have long been recognized to play important roles in Critical Zone processes (Jin et al., 2010; McCarthy and McKay, 2004). Proportionately great surface area magnifies colloid influence on sorption and exchange, decreasing transport of components otherwise entrained in solution. In contrast, colloid mobility transports such components even while sorbed and redistributes insoluble components that form the colloid structure. Colloid redistribution plays roles in broader Critical Zone processes as fundamental as textural differentiation and B horizon formation (Jenny and Smith, 1935). Unfortunately investigating colloid redistribution in soil is difficult; hill slope flow paths are complex and in situ collection of mobile colloids in soil is challenging (McCarthy and McKay, 2004). Thus while colloid redistribution within and from soil is recognized as important, it has remained relatively unquantified.
Bern, Carleton (2014): Quantification of mass balance of colloidal material across lithologies and environments. Seed Grant Proposals in Support of Critical Zone Science in the Susquehanna Shale Hills CZO.
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2014 CZO Seed Grant Proposal