Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New findings help predict soil production and erosion

06.11.2003


Two Dartmouth researchers have quantified the chemical weathering rates of bedrock at three sites around the world. By concentrating their testing in localized areas and using X-ray fluorescence to measure elements and oxides, they have found that variations in the chemistry of weathered bedrock (clay) do not always follow the patterns of the underlying bedrock.



This study by Earth sciences graduate student Benjamin Burke and Assistant Professor Arjun Heimsath will be presented at The Geological Society of America’s annual meeting, November 2-5 in Seattle, WA. Their research helps predict future soil production and erosion in similar landscapes, and may someday predict areas of mineral-rich soil for agricultural purposes.

Burke and Heimsath are studying the rate of soil production, erosion and mineral weathering on landscapes built on granite. Wind and water physically wear down landscapes, while chemical weathering occurs more slowly as water works into the earth to break down rock into clay and other minerals.


"Understanding and quantifying how weathering rates vary across a very localized area allows us to test previously existing assumptions about how land is shifting," says Burke. "We are also examining the assumption that point measurements can be used to infer area wide averages when it comes to soil and rock sampling."

Burke and Heimsath studied three sites: two in southeastern Australia and one in coastal northern California. They chose landscapes with similar properties that have been studied by geologists in the past, building on previous research. At each site, they examined a two-square meter pit, which was about a half meter deep, and took 26 samples from each pit.

They found that in two out of three sites, there was little variability throughout the samples. In the third area, one of the Australian sites, the data revealed great variation across the sample. These results show that chemical and physical weathering processes can work irregularly across very small areas, the researchers say.

"This study definitely supports work by previous researchers indicating that chemical weathering itself contributes to a changing landscape," says Heimsath. "We’ve added the chemical analysis to quantify what we already suspected."

This study was funded by the Geological Society of America and the National Science Foundation.

Susan Knapp | Dartmouth College
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>