Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Climate, water, and carbon...

We got the tour of the North Appalachian Experimental watershed in Coshocton, Ohio last Monday. Watersheds are monitored for the complete hydrologic cycle. Below are pictures of the H-weir (blue) that measures surface runoff and the lysimeter that weighs and calculates the infiltration of water into the ground. We were lead beneath the ground via an old concrete stairwell to view the lysimeter.

The experimental watershed is broken into various plots of different landuse, % clay, slope, and other attributes. Below are clumps of no-till soil compared with tilled soil. The no-till soil has many long burrows from worms.

This is a plastic cast of one of the burrows made in the no till soil.

Because the water cycle and landuse are monitored, we will be able to determine much about the controls on the carbon cycle in response to landuse and other conditions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Incan Bones

In June, I will examine water quality in a glacial melt stream and a non-glacial melt stream that converge to feed the Rio Santos, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Dr. Bryan Mark has already examined the oxygen isotopic signal of these streams and found that during the summer melt season ~ 40% of the Rio Santos is glacial melt. The long term hydrograph suggests these contributions shift in response to climate, I hope to understand how the water quality shifts....compounding the issue, there is a nearby gold mine that may release metals into the stream(s)....this takes my hypothesizing back to Incan times when people were forced into hard labor in mines to meet the empires growing lust for silver. Did some of the Incans allegedly killed by old world disease actually die of metal poisoning?... not just those working in the mines, but those living downstream of deadly tailings...

I just need some Incan bones...