Critical Zone Science, Cosmogenic Nuclides, Detrital Thermochronometry
office phone: +1 307 223-2321
1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, Wyoming 82071
Office: ESB 2008
Geology, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2000
Civil Engineering, BSE, University of Michigan, 1992, summa cum laude
My group seeks quantitative insight on processes that break rock down and move sediment across landscapes. To obtain it, we use a variety of geochemical, isotopic, and geophysical methods to measure properties of the surface and shallow subsurface. Together these measurements reveal patterns of erosion, weathering, regolith formation, and biogeochemical cycling. This work is vital to understanding connections between life and landscapes and to making advances in understanding how humans and natural processes shape Earth's dynamic surface.
Our research focuses on understanding the evolution of Earth's surface, with an emphasis on interpreting observations and measurements from the field. It should therefore come as no surprise that we often find ourselves in beautiful places around the world. Lately, we have been doing a lot of field work at NSF's Critical Zone Observatories. For example, two of our ongoing projects on erosion and weathering focuses on the region surrounding one of the three, original CZOs, in the southern Sierra Nevada.
Cosmogenic Nuclide Labs: We oversee two spacious wet-chemical labs devoted to purification and dissolution of quartz and magnetite. Once minerals are dissolved, cosmogenic nuclides are extracted and prepared for analysis. We use these nuclides to measure rates of weathering, erosion, and sedimentation. Our cosmogenic nuclide lab facilities are open for use by collaborators on select projects. (Contact me by e-mail for information.)
Materials Characterization Labs: We have facilities for isolating other minerals, besides quartz; of particular interest to us at the moment is apatite, for detrital thermochronometry. We also boast a cottage industry in the geochemical analysis of soils and rock using XRF and XRD; this supports our quest for a quantitative understanding of weathering, erosion, and soil development in landscapes.
In my courses I challenge students to identify, understand, and quantify the chemical and physical processes that shape landscapes, generate soils, and modify water quality. My teaching approach emphasizes a mechanistic understanding of Earth systems, including hands-on field components and readings from current research whenever appropriate. Central in my teaching philosophy is the development of problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. Whenever possible, I include exercises based on my experience as an industry consultant – the goal is to help prepare our geology and geophysics graduates as best I can for the real-world problems they will face throughout their careers.
Citation statistics: [click here to open Google Scholar Author Site]
* denotes student under my direct supervision; ◊ denotes student collaborator
Aciego, S. M., Riebe, C. S.,, Hart, S., Blakowski, M. A.◊, Carey, C., Aarons, S. M.◊, Dove, N.◊, Botthoff, J. K., Sims, K. W. W., & Aronson, E. 2017. Dust outpaces bedrock in nutrient supply to forest ecosystems. Nature Communications 8: 14800
Sklar, L. S., Riebe, C. S., Marshall, J. A.◊, Genetti, J.◊, Leclere, S.◊, Lukens, C. L.*, Merces, V.◊ 2017. The problem of predicting the particle size distribution of sediment supplied by hillslopes to rivers. Geomorphology 277: 31-49.
Carey, C. J., Hart, S. C., Aciego, S. M., Riebe, C. S., Blakowski, M.◊, Aronson, E. 2016. Microbial community structure of subalpine snow in the Sierra Nevada, California. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 48(4): 685-701.
Lukens, C. E.*, Riebe, C. S., Sklar, L. S., Shuster, D. L. 2016. Grain-size bias in cosmogenic nuclide studies of stream sediment in steep terrain. Journal of Geophysical Research, Earth Surface 121: 978-999.
Ferrier, K. L., Riebe, C. S., Hahm, W. J.* 2016. Testing for supply-limited and kinetic-limited chemical erosion in field measurements of regolith production and chemical depletion. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 17: 2270-2285.
Riebe, C. S., Sklar, L. S., Lukens, C. E.*, Shuster, D. L. 2015. Climate and topography control the size and flux of sediment produced on steep mountain slopes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 112(51): 15574-15579.
St. Clair, J.◊, Moon, S., Holbrook, W. S., Perron, J. T., Riebe, C. S., Martel, S., Carr, B., Harman, C., Singha, K., and Richter, D. deB. 2015. Geophysical imaging reveals topographic stress control of bedrock weathering. Science 350(6260):534-538.
Hahm W. J.*, Riebe, C. S., Lukens, C. E.*, Araki, S.* 2014. Bedrock composition regulates mountain ecosystems and landscape evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111:3207-3212. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1315667111
Riebe, C. S., Sklar, L. S., Overstreet, B. T.*, Wooster, J. K. 2014. Optimal reproductive potential in salmon spawning substrates linked to grain size and fish length. Water Resources Research 50:898-918. doi: 10.1002/2013WR014231
Holbrook, W. S., Riebe, C. S., Elwaseif, M., Hayes, J. L.◊, Harry, D. L., Basler-Reeder, K., Malazian, A., Dosseto, A., Hartsough, P. C., Hopmans, J. W. 2014. Geophysical constraints on deep weathering and water storage potential in the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 39: 366-380.
Granger, D. E., Riebe, C. S. 2014. Cosmogenic Nuclides in Weathering and Erosion. In: "Treatise on Geochemistry, Volume 7: Surface and Ground Water, Weathering, and Soils." J. I. Drever (editor) Elsevier, London. 2nd edition: 401-436.>
Riebe, C. S., Granger D. E. 2013. Quantifying effects of deep and near-surface chemical erosion on cosmogenic nuclide buildup in soils, saprolite and sediment. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 38:523-533. doi: 10.1002/esp.3339