Project Details



The rates at which minerals weather at the earth's surface are important in a number of environmental issues, including soil nutrient cycling (Huntington et al., 2000), neutralization of acidic precipitation in watersheds (Drever and Hurcomb, 1986) and long-term draw-down of atmospheric CO2 (Berner and Berner, 1997). It is also possible that mineral weathering controls the overall rates of denudation or erosion in some settings. During fall 2003, we propose to convene a group of 20 geochemists and geomorphologists interested in weathering to spearhead a new program to investigate quantitative weathering science in natural laboratories. The Workshop on Worldwide Weathering (WWW) will be held in a small meeting center in either Baltimore, Washington D.C., or Philadelphia and will convene a group of experts in weathering, geomorphology, geomicrobiology, and soil formation; we present a possible budget for the meeting to be held in late October at Airlie House, Virginia. The group will be challenged to put together a game plan for organization of a coordinated effort to quantify weathering rates representing a variety of lithologies, climate regimes, and other characteristics controlling soil formation, nutrient flux, and denudation. The conference will include mainly scientists from the U.S., but will also bring in two to three non-U.S. scientists who are leaders in the field of low-temperature geochemistry. The meeting will allow the formulation of a white paper outlining the emerging plan for a proposal to organize and coordinate data-gathering and data management for investigation of weathering reactions in geochemical settings from around the world. In this proposal we ask NSF to fund travel and expenses for up to 20 participants.

The broader impacts of this funding are the following: 1) improved understanding of the current diversity of questions within the field of weathering science including geochemistry and geomorphology; 2) improved understanding on the part of scientists from the U.S. of weathering initiatives occurring abroad; 3) development of a coordinated plan to quantify weathering rates in diverse settings; 4) development of a plan to standardize data gathering in the field of weathering science; 5) development of a plan to store and disseminate data from weathering sites worldwide for use by the entire community.

The meeting organizers will summarize the thoughts of the workshop participants and will wordsmith the writing that is accomplished at the meeting itself into a document to be published in EOS. The document will describe a proposed plan for the organization and funding of a coordinated effort to quantify weathering rates and investigate all aspects of weathering and will call for ideas and participation from among the community of low-temperature geochemists and geomorphologists interested in these topics. A second, open meeting will then be held at the upcoming Water Rock Interaction 11 meeting in June 2004 at Saratoga Springs, NY. Our plan is that by January 2005 we may be ready to submit a full proposal for a programmatic weathering initiative.

Effective start/end date9/15/038/31/04


  • National Science Foundation: $27,000.00


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