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UA awarded $4.35 million to study Earth's critical zone
Date:9/23/2009

stigator Peter Troch, a UA professor of hydrology and water resources.

The scientists have already begun research at the Valles Caldera and in Marshall Gulch at the top of the Santa Catalinas.

By monitoring water in the soil, stream water and rainwater in the Catalinas, the team has found that even within a relatively small area, the bedrock geology affects water in the soil enough to dictate what vegetation grows there. The UA's Water Sustainability Program provided a Technology and Research Initiative Fund seed grant for the pilot project.

Troch said the research at the Valles Caldera will build upon previous studies of snowpack and the hydrologic cycle conducted there as part of the UA's Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA) program.

Robert Parmenter, Valles Caldera's Director of Science and Education, said, "This large NSF CZO grant provides yet another example of the scientific value of the Valles Caldera as an outdoor laboratory and classroom.

"The scientists and students who will work here from across the country, along with their arrays of high-tech instrumentation, will provide benefits to society at local, regional and national scales -- particularly through educational programs for public school students and teachers, as well as university undergraduates, graduate students and faculty."

In addition, findings from CZO research will complement those from the new experiment at UA's Biosphere 2. A team of scientists, including some from the CZO team, are using Biosphere 2 as a gigantic controlled-environment laboratory to test how water moves through a variety of artificial hill slopes.

Chorover said, "A lot of exciting science occurs at the interface between disciplines." He added that having a research team that combines the outlooks and skills of hydrologists, ecologists, geomorphologists and geochemists is crucial for figuring out how the critical zone works. '/>"/>

Contact: Mari N. Jensen
mnjensen@email.arizona.edu
520-626-9635
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert  

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