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critical zone
Focus Topic: Critical Zone Research and Observatories

The vadose zone is a key compartment of the critical zone, which ranges from the top of the vegetation canopy down to groundwater. This focus topic collects research on the role of spatial patterns of key hydrological and biogeochemical states to better understand flow and transport processes at the field, hillslope, and catchment scales; dynamics of dissolved organic carbon and colloids in the critical zone; and the concept of critical zone services. Of particular interest are papers that address coupled hydrological and biogeochemical processes across critical zone compartments. It also includes new findings obtained at critical zone observatories worldwide.
J. Eichert, B. McAlexander, M. Lyverse, P. Michalski and N. Sihota
Understanding the implications of vadose zone processes across spatial and temporal scales is challenging. At petroleum release sites, biodegradation of hydrocarbon compounds contributes to biogeochem...more
Briana M. Wyatt, Tyson E. Ochsner, Christopher A. Fiebrich, Christopher R. Neel and David S. Wallace
Groundwater supplies ~20% of global freshwater withdrawals, and accurate information regarding groundwater recharge rates is needed for sustainable groundwater management. Recharge rates are often lim...more
Susanne Weigand, Roland Bol, Barbara Reichert, Alexander Graf, Inge Wiekenkamp, Michael Stockinger, Andreas Luecke, Wolfgang Tappe, Heye Bogena, Thomas Puetz, Wulf Amelung and Harry Vereecken
Understanding natural controls on N and C biogeochemical cycles is important to estimate human impacts on these cycles. This study examined the spatiotemporal relationships between time series of week...more
Nina Gottselig, Volker Nischwitz, Thomas Meyn, Wulf Amelung, Roland Bol, Cynthia Halle, Harry Vereecken, Jan Siemens and Erwin Klumpp
Elemental contents in catchment headwaters are indicative of the load of nutrients and minerals cycled or released from ecosystems, yet little is known about natural colloids (1–1000 nm) and especia...more
J. Bouma
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a major challenge for both society and the science community. Hydropedology, combining the expertise of soil physicists and pedologists, plays a key r...more
Thomas Maurer and Horst H. Gerke
The development pathway of a landscape depends to a degree on the initial spatial distributions of mineral and organic components. The interaction between structures and ecohydrological processes duri...more
Simin Akbariyeh, Bradley M. Patterson, Manish Kumar and Yusong Li
Vapor intrusion of volatile organic compounds into buildings can be a significant source of human exposure to hazardous materials. Field assessment is essential to evaluate the vapor intrusion pathway...more
Li Guo and Henry Lin
The Critical Zone (CZ) is the thin layer of the Earth’s terrestrial surface and near-surface environment that ranges from the top of the vegetation canopy to the bottom of the weathering zone and pl...more
S. Guillon, C. Gréau and E. Pili
Long-term continuous measurements of gas concentrations in the vadose zone are required to identify gas transport processes. A magnetic sector mass spectrometer, originally developed for industrial pr...more
Tetsu K. Tokunaga, Yongman Kim, Mark E. Conrad, Markus Bill, Chad Hobson, Kenneth H. Williams, Wenming Dong, Jiamin Wan, Mark J. Robbins, Philip E. Long, Boris Faybishenko, John N. Christensen and Susan S. Hubbard
Although CO2 fluxes from soils are often assumed to originate within shallow soil horizons (<1-m depth), relatively little is known about respiration rates at greater depths. We compared measured a...more