The Earth’s Critical Zone (CZ) is described as the permeable near-surface layer from the tops of the trees to the bottom of the groundwater. It is a living, breathing, and constantly evolving boundary layer where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact. These complex interactions regulate the natural habitat and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources, including food production and water quality. Clays and clay minerals are the most abundant and reactive components of the CZ. It was for this reason that a thematic session entitled ‘Clays in the Critical Zone’ was convened at the 2015 EuroClay Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Paul Schroeder (2016): Clays in the Critical Zone: An Introduction. Clays and Clay Minerals 65 (5): 586-587. DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.2016.064045