Cover of Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Vol. 42 Is.1

Controls on deep critical zone architecture: a historical review and four testable hypotheses

The base of Earth's critical zone (CZ) is commonly shielded from study by many meters of overlying rock and regolith. Though deep CZ processes may seem far removed from the surface, they are vital in shaping it, preparing rock for infusion into the biosphere and breaking Earth materials down for transport across landscapes. This special issue highlights outstanding challenges and recent advances of deep CZ research in a series of articles that we introduce here in the context of relevant literature dating back to the 1500s. Building on several contributions to the special issue, we highlight four exciting new hypotheses about factors that drive deep CZ weathering and thus influence the evolution of life‐sustaining CZ architecture.

Cover of Earth Surface Dynamics

Catchment power and the joint distribution of elevation and travel distance to the outlet

The delivery of water, sediment, and solutes by catchments is influenced by the distribution of source elevations and their travel distances to the outlet. For example, elevation affects the magnitude and phase of precipitation, as well as the climatic factors that govern rock weathering, which influence the production rate and initial particle size of sediments. Travel distance, in turn, affects the timing of flood peaks at the outlet and the degree of sediment size reduction by wear, which affects particle size distributions at the outlet. The distributions of elevation and travel distance have been studied extensively but separately, as the hypsometric curve and width function. Yet a catchment can be considered as a collection of points, each with paired values of elevation and travel distance.

Cover of Journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research

Microbial Community Structure of Subalpine Snow in the Sierra Nevada, California

Mounting evidence suggests that Earth’s cryosphere harbors diverse and active microbial communities. However, our understanding of microbial composition and diversity in seasonal snowpack of montane ecosystems remains limited. We sequenced the 16S rRNA gene to determine microbial structure (composition and diversity) of snow at two depths (0–15 and 15–30 cm) of a subalpine site in the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory, California, U.S.A. Proteobacteria dominated both depths (~72% of sequences), and this phylum was composed mostly of bacteria within the Rhodospirillales order. Cyanobacteria were almost exclusively present in the upper snow layer, while Actinobacteria and Firmicutes were more abundant in the deep snow layer. Many of the most abundant phylotypes were Acetobacteraceae.

Cover of Chemical Geology Vol. 444

Exploring the role of mantle eclogite at mid-ocean ridges and hotspots

U-series constraints on Jan Mayen Island and the Kolbeinsey Ridge. Sensitivity to rates of melting and to the presence of garnet in the melting residue makes U-series isotope disequilibrium a helpful tool for assessing the presence and role of mantle eclogite rocks in generating magmatic crust at both mid-ocean ridges and hotspots. Here we present 238U-234U-230Th-226Ra-210Pb isotope disequilibria data for a suite of fresh lavas from the tectonically and geochemically complex Jan Mayen region, including Jan Mayen Island; the Northern Kolbeinsey Ridge, which hosts the anomalous Eggvin Bank bathymetric high; and the Southern Mohns Ridge.

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