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Current Research: Our interdisciplinary team works collaboratively at the Susquehanna-Shale Hills CZO to advance methods for characterizing regolith, to provide a theoretical basis for predicting the distribution, properties and evolution of regolith, and to theoretically and experimentally study the impacts of regolith on fluid pathways, flow rates, solute residence times, and response to climate change.

Climate and Hydrometeorology: This research focuses on investigation of explicit coupling and feedback for subsurface-landsurface-atmosphere interaction using fully coupled models over meteorologic and climatic time scales. A long history of hydrologic research at the site has stimulated reanalysis research to reprocess and assimilate observational data collected during experimental campaigns conducted over a 40+ year span, into an integrated watershed reanalysis product.

Weathering: Weathering fronts, mineral transformation reactions, and long-term physical-chemical weathering fluxes are elucidating the important physical, biological and hydrogeochemical processes that operate within this shale dominated catchment. 

Shale Hills CZO sampling locations

Hydropedology: Using a suite of non-invasive imaging techniques (X-ray tomography, ground penetrating radar, and electromagnetic induction) in combination with real-time soil monitoring we are able to detect and model subsurface flow networks and their dynamics.

Ecological Research: In this study patterns of tree water use and water availability across the watershed influence trees at the physiological, community and evolutionary time scales; and how a temperate forest affects water, energy and weathering rates.

Stable Isotope Hydrology: The stable isotope network takes a comprehensive approach to determine space-time signatures in all stores of the watershed and to elucidate fluid pathways and time scales from source to sink.

Watershed Modeling: The stable isotope network is also being used to evaluate the “age” and residence times of stable isotopes at Shale Hills as part of an integrated hydrodynamic model for water, solutes and sediments. The Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Model for water and energy budgets has been implemented at Shale Hills and the sediment transport and solute transport are in final stages of completion. A landscape evolution model is planned for implementation in year 5.

Soil Biogeochemistry: This research focuses on quantification of soil respiration rates and investigation of how water movement/storage and soil texture lead to variability in soil-atmosphere CO2 exchange.

Geomorphology: Sediment erosion, transport, and deposition are being incorporated into the Penn State Integrated Hydrologic Model. Efforts include development of a hillslope sediment flux model that incorporates tree-throw and freeze-thaw creep.

Hydrogeophysics: In field-scale and lab-scale tracer tests both soils and shale material show preferential pathways that may be indicative of dual-domain solute transport behavior.

Shale Hills CZO sampling locations


Research News

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Water Resources Research Special Collection: Concentration-discharge relations in the critical zone

30 Oct 2017 - Water Resources Research published a new special collection in September 2017 featuring concentration-discharge research from multiple CZOs.

FEATURED

82nd Annual Field Conference of PA Geologists tour the CZO

05 Oct 2017 - Just under 250 geologists from across the state of Pennsylvania spent three days (Oct 5-7) exploring outcrops and research sites in Blair, Centre...

FEATURED

The frontier beneath our feet — an AGU commentary on the critical zone

21 Apr 2017 - AGU has published a collection of commentaries highlighting the important role Earth and space science research plays in society.

FEATURED

2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society

06 Apr 2017 - 2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society.

FEATURED

Critical Zone Profiles - Meet the people doing CZO science (Shale Hills CZO)

26 Sep 2016 - Get a sense of the people and the work. Several members of the Shale Hills CZO are profiled here, including students and professors.


Two new CZO team members begin subsurface investigations at Cole Farm

10 Nov 2017 - Perri Silverhart, MS Student Geosciences, and Caitlin Hodges, PhD Student Soil Science, begin the field component of their research at Cole...

Delegation from China Geologic Survey visits Shale Hills CZO

03 Nov 2017 - During the week of October 30th, Penn State and SSHCZO hosted 15 scientists from the China Geological Survey, with interests ranging from saltwater...

The 2017 – 2018 cohort of TeenShale meets for first in-house & in-field experience

17 Oct 2017 - This year’s cohort of TeenShale Network consists of eight returning participants (10th – 12th graders) and eight new team members (8th...

Hydrogeophysics Workshop Returns to CZO for field campaign

30 Jun 2017 - Over two days, the catena in Garner Run was home base for the Rutgers 2017 Hydrogeophysics Workshop.  Faculty, graduate students, and three...

Joanmarie Del Vecchio delivers engaging presentation for M.S. Geosciences defense

25 May 2017 - Joanmarie Del Vecchio, MS Candidate in Geosciences, delivered an engaging public presentation on her thesis research "A Record of Coupled Hillslope...

More News >


Example Publications

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Concentration-Discharge Relations in the Critical Zone: Implications for Resolving Critical Zone Structure, Function and Evolution. Chorover, J., Derry, L. A., McDowell, W. H. (2017): Water Resources Research (online) Cross-CZO National

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Growing new generations of critical zone scientists. Wymore Adam S., Nicole R. West, Kate Maher, Pamela L. Sullivan, Adrian Harpold, Diana Karwan, Jill A. Marshall, Julia Perdrial, Daniella M. Rempe and Lin Ma (2017): Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 42 (14): 2498-2502 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

Geochemical evolution of the Critical Zone across variable time scales informs concentration-discharge relationships: Jemez River Basin Critical Zone Observatory. McIntosh J.C., Schaumberg C., Perdrial J., Harpold A., Vázquez-Ortega A., Rasmussen C., Vinson D., Zapata-Rios X., Brooks P.D., Meixner T., Pelletier J., Derry L., Chorover J. (2017): Water Resources Research 53(5): 4169–4196 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

Enhancing Interoperability and Capabilities of Earth Science Data using the Observations Data Model 2 (ODM2). Hsu, Leslie, Emilio Mayorga, Jeffery S. Horsburgh, Megan R. Carter, Kerstin A. Lehnert and Susan L. Brantley (2017): Data Science Journal, 16: 4, pp. 1–16 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

Expanding the role of reactive transport models in critical zone processes. Li Li, Kate Maher, Alexis Navarre-Sitchler, Jenny Druhan, Christof Meile, Corey Lawrence, Joel Moore, Julia Perdrial, Pamela Sullivan, Aaron Thompson, Lixin Jin, Edward W. Bolton, Susan L. Brantley, William E. Dietrich, K. Ulrich Mayer, Carl I. Steefel, Albert Valocchi, John Zachara, Benjamin Kocar, Jennifer Mcintosh, Benjamin M. Tutolo, Mukesh Kumar, Eric Sonnenthal, Chen Bao, Joe Beisman (2017): Earth-Science Reviews, 165:280-301 Cross-CZO

FEATURED

Variability in aboveground carbon dynamics driven by slope aspect and curvature in an eastern deciduous forest, USA. Smith, L., Eissenstat, D., and Kaye, M. (2017): Canadian Journal of Forest Research, vol. 47: 149–158

FEATURED

Controls on deep critical zone architecture: a historical review and four testable hypotheses. Riebe, C. S., Hahm, W. J., Brantley, S. L. (2017): Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 42 (1): 128–156 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

Variation of organic matter quantity and quality in streams at Critical Zone Observatory watersheds. Miller, Matthew P., Boyer, Elizabeth W., McKnight, Diane M., Brown, Michael G., Gabor, Rachel S., Hunsaker, Carolyn T., Iavorivska, Lidiia, Inamdar, Shreeram, Johnson, Dale W., Kaplan, Louis A., Lin, Henry, McDowell, William H., Perdrial, Julia N. (2016): Water Resources Research, 52 (10): 8202–8216 Cross-CZO

FEATURED

Designing a suite of measurements to understand the critical zone. Brantley, S. L., DiBiase, R. A., Russo, T. A., Shi, Y., Lin, H., Davis, K. J., Kaye, M., Hill, L., Kaye, J., Eissenstat, D. M., Hoagland, B., Dere, A. L., Neal, A. L., Brubaker, K. M., and Arthur, D. K (2016): Earth Surface Dynamics 4: 211-235

FEATURED

Fully-Coupled Hydrologic Processes for Modeling Landscape Evolution. Zhang, Y., R. Slingerland, and C. Duffy (2016): Environmental Modelling & Software, 82:89-107

FEATURED

Mineralogical Transformations and Soil Development in Shale across a Latitudinal Climosequence. Dere Ashlee L., Timothy S. White, Richard April, and Susan L. Brantley (2016): Soil Science Society of America, 80:623–636


ONLINE EXTRA: Bringing the Outdoors In: Application of Hydrogeology Education Tools. Williams JZ, Dykhoff S, Pollak J, and Brantley SL (2017): In The Trenches, 7(4):online

Recommendations for field-scale induced polarization (IP) data acquisition and interpretation. Zarif, F., Kessouri, P., and Slater, L (2017): Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics (in press)

A record of coupled hillslope and channel response to Pleistocene erosion and deposition in a sandstone headwater valley, central Pennsylvania. Del Vecchio, J., DiBiase, R.A., Denn, A.R., Bierman, P.R., Caffee, M.W., and Zimmerman, S.R. (2017): Geological Society of America Bulletin (in review)

Colloidal transport in the Gordon Gulch catchment of the Boulder Creek CZO and its effect on C‐Q relationships for silicon. Aguirre A.A., Derry L.A., Mills J.T., Anderson S.P. (2017): Water Resources Research 53, 2368–2383, Cross-CZO National

Concentration-Discharge Relations in the Critical Zone: Implications for Resolving Critical Zone Structure, Function and Evolution. Chorover J., Derry L.A., McDowell W.A (2017): Water Resources Research (Accepted) Cross-CZO

Earthcasting reveals weathering fluxes increase with warming temperatures but decrease with nutrient cycling. Sullivan, P., Godderis, Y., Shi, Y., Gu, X., Schott, J., Hasenmueller, E.A., Kaye, J., Duffy, C., Jin, L., and Brantley, S.L. (2017): Earth's Surface (submitted)

Dual-phase mass balance modeling of small mineral particle losses from sedimentary rock-derived soils . Bern, Carleton R. and Yesavage, Tiffany (2017): Chemical Geology (in review)

More Publications >