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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

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

FEATURED NATIONALLY

Call for proposals: Research Coordination Networks (RCNs) Driving Convergent CZ Science

12 Jul 2018 - NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Research Coordination Networks (RCNs) for Driving Convergent Science in the Critical Zone

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).

FEATURED

White paper of 2017 CZ Science Meeting in Arlington, VA

01 Jan 2018 - New Opportunities for Critical Zone Science Following the June 2017 Arlington Meeting for Critical Zone Science (hosted by CZO), a white booklet...

FEATURED

CZOs at AGU 2017

05 Dec 2017 - Information on CZO award recipients, events, presentations, etc. at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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2017 CZO Webinar Series: Critical Zone and Society

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

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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.


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...

Large scale 3D seismic survey explores the deep CZ of Shale Hills

04 Jun 2018 - One of the first ever academically-led large scale 3D seismic refraction survey uses the Shale Hills watershed to capture high-resolution imaging of...

GeoPATHS field experience explores the CZO

31 May 2018 - As part of the GEOPATHS Field Experience, first and second year undergraduate students worked together to explore the shallow subsurface of the...

Dr. Ying Fan Reinfelder visits for the 2018 All-Hands Meeting at Penn State

10 May 2018 - Over the course of two days each May, the SSHCZO comes together for the annual All-Hands science meeting at Penn State.  This year, Dr. Ying...

More News >


Example Publications

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

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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

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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


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 (accepted)

Investigating the Effect of Lithology and Agriculture at the Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (SSHCZO): The Garner Run and Cole Farm Subcatchments. Li Li, DiBiase Roman A., Del Vecchio Joanmarie, Marcon Virginia, Hoagland Beth, Xiao Dacheng, Wayman Callum, Tang Qicheng, He Yuting, Silverhart Perri, Szink Ismaiel, Forsythe Brandon, Williams Jennifer Z., Shapich Dan, Mount Gregory J., Kaye Jason, Guo Li, Lin Henry, Eissenstat David, Dere Ashlee, Brubaker Kristen, Kaye Margot, Davis Kenneth J., Brantley Susan L. (2018): Vadose Zone Journal (accepted)

Perennial flow through convergent hillslopes explains chemodynamic solute behavior in a shale headwater catchment. Herndon, Elizabeth M., Steinhoefel, Grit, Dere, Ashlee L.D., and Sullivan, Pamela L. (2018): Chemical Geology

Climate preconditions the Critical Zone: Elucidating the role of subsurface fractures in the evolution of asymmetric topography. West, N., Kirby, E., Nyblade, A., and Brantley, S.L. (2018): Earth and Planetary Science Letters (submitted)

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