Articles | Volume 5, issue 4
Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 841–860, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-5-841-2017
Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 841–860, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-5-841-2017

Research article 18 Dec 2017

Research article | 18 Dec 2017

Designing a network of critical zone observatories to explore the living skin of the terrestrial Earth

Susan L. Brantley et al.

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Latest update: 25 Jan 2021
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Short summary
The layer known as the critical zone extends from the tree tops to the groundwater. This zone varies globally as a function of land use, climate, and geology. Energy and materials input from the land surface downward impact the subsurface landscape of water, gas, weathered material, and biota – at the same time that differences at depth also impact the superficial landscape. Scientists are designing observatories to understand the critical zone and how it will evolve in the future.