Short Hair Creek (2700 m elevation)

Field Areas     

◀Prev       Next►

The Short Hair Creek field area in the subalpine belt of the Sierra Nevada. Due to harsh winter conditions and a falling tree, the flux tower was down from 2011-2014. A replacement tower was brought in by helicopter and raised by a team in August 2014. Instruments were reinstalled June 2015.

2700 - m   Elev

1078 mm   Precip

Short Hair Creek landscape near flux tower. Photo by Erin Stacy.


igneous-felsic intrusive

Jump down

Setting & Research
Dynamic Map
  • Setting & Research

    Short Hair Creek is in the subalpine belt of the Sierra Nevada, in the Sierra National Forest near Courtright Reservoir in Fresno County. The vegetation community at Short Hair Creek is largely Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) and Western White Pine (Pinus monticola). Elevation of the tower is 2703 m. Mean minimum T is -1.9ºC, mean maximum temperature is 10.2ºC. Mean annual precipitation is 1078 mm year-1. For additional information, see Goulden et al., 2012.

    This site is part of an elevational transect that increases in altitude from west to east: SJER (400 m), Soaproot Saddle (1100 m), Providence Creek Headwater Catchments (P301, 2000 m), and Short Hair Creek (2700 m).

    Along this transect, bedrock lithology is generally constant (intrusive felsic plutons) while air temperature, precipitation phase, vegetation species diversity and abundance, and subsurface properties vary. A series of eddy-covariance gas flux towers are installed at these sites. Transect-length work has included soil depth, chemistry, and moisture characterizations; vegetation surveys; forest water balance and usage research; and wind-blown dust geochemistry and microbiology studies.

    Panorama of Short Hair Creek tower site. July 2014. Photo by Erin Stacy.

    A full size image is available at the Sierra Nevada / San Joaquin Hydrologic Observatory digital library (external link).

    Panorama of Short Hair Creek tower site. July 2014. Photo by Erin Stacy.

    A full size image is available at the Sierra Nevada / San Joaquin Hydrologic Observatory digital library (external link).

  • Dynamic Map

    To fully zoom into a small area, you may need to visit the "Map" button and uncheck "Terrain" view.

  • Data

    Flux Tower Transect, Short Hair Creek - Flux Tower, Meteorology (2009-2016)
    7 components    Short Hair Creek (2700 m elevation)    Climatology / Meteorology, Biology / Ecology    Mike Goulden, Anne Kelly

    National - Flux Tower - AmeriFlux Network data (2007-2018)
    14 components    Boulder Creek Watershed, Jemez River Basin, Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory, San Joaquin Experimental Range (405 m elevation), Soaproot Saddle (1160 m elevation), P301 Flux Tower (2015 m elevation), Short Hair Creek (2700 m elevation)    Climatology / Meteorology    Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory, Catalina-Jemez Critical Zone Observatory, Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory, Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory, Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory

  • Photos

    SSCZO - Flux Towers

    An eddy covariance flux tower is located near the top of the P301 watershed. Instruments collect data on temperature, relative humidity, and fluxes of carbon dioxide and water vapor to determine the physiological responses of the site (for example, how photosynthesis increases with light) and summed over a year to determine the carbon balance of a site (how much carbon it is gaining or losing). Three other flux towers have been instrumented at different elevations with the Sierras including the San Joaquin River, Soaproot, and Short Hair Creek.

    This west-east transect spans elevation gradient from 400 m to 2700 m. The change in elevation is accompanied by a slight increase in precipitation, but the main change is a shift from rain-dominated precipitation to snow-dominated precipitation. The climatic shift plays out in other ways as well. At lower elevations, high temperatures and low water availability limit evapotranspiration by vegetation. Meanwhile, forest activity (evapotranspiration) at higher elevations is limited by cold winter temperatures. There is a sweet spot at middle elevations of yera-round evapotranspiration and forest activity.

    Photo galleries of each flux tower are available: San Joaquin Experimental Range;  Soaproot SaddleProvidence subcatchment P301; and Short Hair Creek.

    SSCZO - Instruments

    Hundreds of instruments and sensors have been deployed in the primary SSCZO research site of the Providence Creek watershed as well as in Wolverton basin.  Additional SSCZO flux towers and instruments have also been installed at the San Joaquin Experimental Range, Soaproot Saddle, and Short Hair Creek.

    Explore more photos of the intstuments and sensors used by SSCZO.

Jump Up

  • Geology

    • igneous-felsic intrusive

    Short Hair Creek, 2700 m elevation
    Quad: Blackcap Mountain

    This site was glaciated in the Pleistocene (Gillespie and Zehfuss 2004) and is situated on glacial till. The bedrock immediately below the tower is of unknown composition. However, two different bedrock units are exposed within 500 m of the tower (Bateman 1965).

    Aplite and felsic quartz monzonite dikes (Kap)
    Dinkey Creek Granodiorite (Kdc, formerly Granodiorite of Dinkey Creek, same as P301)
    “Medium-grained, generally strongly foliated. Contains abundant disc-shaped mafic inclusions and mafic clots composed of hornblende, biotite, sphene, plagioclase, and opaque minerals. Intrudes the quartz diorite of Blue Canyon. Age by Rb-Sr whole-rock isochron 110 +/- 11 m.y.” (Bateman and Wones 1972). The mafic inclusions are “as much as 30 cm long and 5 cm thick. The mafic minerals are intergrown, and individual grains are anhedral” (Bateman 1992).

    For more detail on the other flux towers, refer to each page:

    SJER, 400 m elevation
    Quad: Millerton Lake
    Ward Mountain Trondhjemite (Kw) (formerly Leucotonalite of Ward Mountain)

    Soaproot Saddle, 1100 m elevation
    Quad: Shaver Lake
    Bass Lake Tonalite (Kbl, formerly Tonalite of Blue Canyon)

    P301, 2000 m elevation
    Quad: Huntington Lake
    Dinkey Creek Granodiorite (Kdc, formerly Granodiorite of Dinkey Creek)