Critical Zone Processes Across Landscapes
The geochemical landscape, as defined below, is an important part of ecosystem function. Our focus is to understand the geologic, geochemical, geomorthologic and geobiological evolution and functioning of regions of the Nation that share common geologic, geographic, and hydrologic characteristics.
The term critical zone refers to the earth's near surface between bedrock and tree top. It encompases soil (the second most precious resource after water) and the processes that affect it. This project is focused on characterizing the role of geology, hydrology, geomorphology, and biology on the critical zone over distance scales ranging from large regions of the Nation to microscopic, and time scales from geologic to chemical reaction times. The research conducted by this project also emphasizes that the real base of all ecosystems is geologic.
The project strategy is to integrate the geologic, geomorphologic, hydrologic,and pedologic evolution of a region of the Nation by combining field studies and collaboration with scientists inside and outside the USGS to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the current geochemical landscape achieved its past, present configuration, and how it might evolve in the future.
- Integrated studies of the California Geochemical Landscape
- Critical Zone Processes in the Prairie Potholes Region of the north-central U.S.
- Critical Zone Studies in Pennsylvania
Project Contact Information
Geochemical Landscapes Project (Fiscal Years 2002-2010)
Backgrounds and Baselines Project Through Fiscal Year 2001)