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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

CZOs at AGU 2018

19 Nov 2018 - The 2018 AGU Fall Meeting will be held December 10-14 in Washington, D.C.

FEATURED NATIONALLY

NSF Discovery articles focus on the CZOs.

10 May 2018 - The Discoveries section of the National Science Foundation's website on Critical Zone Observatories (CZOs).


2018 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting - What Science Stands For

14 Nov 2018 - The Annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union is a worldwide conference for geophysical sciences, which brings together space scietists,...

Eissenstat laboratory group shares ecology research with Franklin & Marshall College class

20 Oct 2018 - Visiting Professor of Biology, Dr. J.B. Moon (Penn State Alumna, Ecology - 2012), toured the Shale Hills catchment with BIO 323 – Ecological...

The 2018-2019 TeenShale cohort engages with CCPaSEC for first field campaign

09 Oct 2018 - Building upon the abandoned well water quality investigations of Wallace Run, this year’s cohort plans to engage with the Centre County...

REU students with the Visualizing Forest Futures (ViFF) program visit the CZO

16 Jul 2018 - Trail walks on the Menominee Indian Reservation and through Pennsylvania Forestlands around the CZO (Penn State Stone Valley Forest, Rothrock State...

Catchment characteristics to be modeled by Laura Clemente-Harding, PhD student Geography

19 Jun 2018 - Over three days in the Shale Hills catchment, Clemente-Harding along with her colleagues at the Geospatial Research Laboratory Engineer Research and...

More News >


Example Publications

FEATURED

Mercury sourcing and sequestration in weathering profiles at six Critical Zone Observatories. Richardson, Justin B., Arnulfo A. Aguirre, Heather L. Buss, A. Toby O'Geen, Xin Gu, Daniella M. Rempe, and Daniel deB. Richter (2018): Global Biogeochemical Cycles, doi: 10.1029/2018GB005974 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Ideas and perspectives: Strengthening the biogeosciences in environmental research networks. Richter, D.D., S.A. Billings, P.M. Groffman, E.F. Kelly, K.A. Lohse, W.H. McDowell, T.S. White, S. Anderson, D.D. Baldocchi, S. Banwart, S. Brantley, J.J. Braun, Z.S. Brecheisen, C.W. Cook, H.E. Hartnett, S.E. Hobbie, J. Gaillardet, E. Jobbagy, H.F. Jungkunst, C.E. Kazanski, J. Krishnaswamy, D. Markewitz, K. O’Neill, C.S. Riebe, P. Schroeder, C. Siebe, W.L. Silver, A. Thompson, A. Verhoef, G. Zhang (2018): Biogeosciences 15: 4815-4832 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED NATIONALLY

A net ecosystem carbon budget for snow dominated forested headwater catchments: linking water and carbon fluxes to critical zone carbon storage. Perdrial J., Brooks P.D., Swetnam T., Lohse K.A., Rasmussen C., Litvak M., Harpold A.A., Zapata-Rios X., Broxton P., Mitra B., Meixner M., Condon K., Huckle D., Stielstra C., Vázquez-Ortega A., Lybrand R., Holleran M., Orem C., Pelletier J., Chorover J. (2018): Biogeochemistry 138{3): 225–243 Cross-CZO

FEATURED

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 53(11): 8654–8659 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

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

Designing a network of critical zone observatories to explore the living skin of the terrestrial Earth. Brantley, S.L., McDowell, W.H., Dietrich, W.E., White, T.S., Kumar, P., Anderson, S., Chorover, J., Lohse, K.A., Bales, R.C., Richter, D., Grant, G., and Gaillardet, J. (2017): Earth Surface Dynamics, 5, 841–860 Cross-CZO National

FEATURED

Reviews and syntheses: on the roles trees play in building and plumbing the critical zone. Brantley, Susan L., David M. Eissenstat, Jill A. Marshall, Sarah E. Godsey, Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad, Diana L. Karwan, Shirley A. Papuga, Joshua Roering, Todd E. Dawson, Jaivime Evaristo, Oliver Chadwick, Jeffrey J. McDonnell, Kathleen C. Weathers (2017): Biogeosciences, 14, 5115-5142 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


Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth and the Environment for a Sustainable Future Book Chapter: Implementing and Assessing InTeGrate Critical Zone Science Materials in an Undergraduate Geoscience Program. Ashlee Dere, Carol Engelmann, Timothy White, Adam Wymore, Adam Hoffman, James Washburne, Martha Conklin (2018): Springer Cross-CZO National

Stratigraphic control of landscape response to base-level fall, Young Womans Creek, Pennsylvania, USA. DiBiase, R.A., Denn, A.R., Bierman, P.R., Kirby, E., West, N., and Hidy, A.J. (2018): Earth and Planetary Science Letters 504, p. 163-173

Fire, flood, and drought—Extreme climate events alter flow paths and stream chemistry. Murphy, S.F., McCleskey, R.B., Martin, D.A., Writer, J.H., and Ebel, B.A. (2018): Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 123 Cross-CZO

Scientist–Nonscientist Teams Explore Methane Sources in Streams Near Oil/Gas Development. Wendt, Anna K., Todd Sowers, Scott Hynek, Jacob Lemon, Erika Beddings, Guanjie Zheng, Zhenhui Li, Jennifer Z. Williams, Susan L. Brantley (2018): Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education, Issue 164, Pages 80-111

Occurrence of subsurface lateral flow in the Shale Hills Catchment indicated by a soil water mass balance method. Guo, L., Fan, B., Zhang, J., and Lin, H. (2018): European Journal of Soil Science

Chapter 2 - Addressing Two Bottlenecks to Advance the Understanding of Preferential Flow in Soils. Guo, L. and Lin, H (2018): Advances in Agronomy, vol 147, p 61-117

Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory: Shale Hills in the Context of Shaver's Creek Watershed. Brantley Susan, White Timothy, West Nicole, Williams Jennifer, Forsythe Brandon, Shapich Dan, Kaye Jason, Lin Hangsheng (Henry), Shi Yuning, Kaye Margot, Herndon Elizabeth, Davis Kenneth, He Yuting, Eissenstat David, Weitzman Julie, DiBiase Roman, Li Li, Reed Warren, Brubaker Kristen, Gu Xin (2018): Vadose Zone Journal, 17(1):doi:10.2136/vzj2018.04.0092

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