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

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents
12.12.2017 | Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

nachricht How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas
11.12.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>