Research at Critical Zone Observatories has included the study of soil and the rate at which it forms. In this thesis, chips of Rose Hill Shale were buried along a climosequence in the Appalachian Mountains (in the Susquehanna-Shale Hills Observatory and associated satellite sites) to determine how shale weathers and to begin to quantify weathering and soil formation rates. This study covered only two years of weathering and is part of a longer term experiment. After recovery the shale chips were analyzed for mass loss, physical changes, and elemental chemistry using SEM and EDAX. In the mass loss profiles it was determined that the mass loss
of the shale chips was constant through the various soil profiles, except for one depth at each site that displayed elevated mass loss. This increased mass loss may be attributable to a number of factors. Calculated rates of soil formation are not as expected. Slower rates were in the southern sites (TN, and AL), with quicker rates in the northern sites (NY, and VA). The rates that were calculated were averaged at each site and are: in NY 9.15 m/My, in VA 10.19 m/My, in TN 6.87 m/My, and in AL 4.19 m/My.
Trowbridge, P (2013): Rose Hill Shale Weathering Across a Climate Gradient in the Appalachian Mountains. Bachelor of Science, Pennsylvania State University.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.
(1 MB pdf)