ARCHIVED CONTENT: In December 2020, the CZO program was succeeded by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (CZ Net) ×

January edition of CSA News features the Critical Zone Observatories

21 Dec 2011
News Source: CSA News

The January 2012 cover story of CSA News investigates the Critical Zone Observatories.

To the ordinary eye, south-central Pennsylvania's Shale Hills catchment is a pleasant little tract of deciduous forest much like any other in the northeastern United States. Second-growth oaks and maples splash dappled shade across the 20-acre site, birds flit and call, and water babbles in a narrow, unnamed stream—the first leg on a long journey to the Susquehanna River. But Pennsylvania State University geologist and SSSA member Susan Brantley is no ordinary observer; for her, the pretty scene evokes a host of questions about why the landscape looks the way it does. She’s now delving into the answers more deeply than ever before. As a co-principal investigator of the Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (CZO), Brantley is among a growing cadre of scientists who investigate the earth’s “critical zone”: the living, evolving, outer skin of our planet where rock, soil, water, air, and organisms interact to regulate the environment that is critical to life.


Interviews with Co-PI’s Susan Brantley and Henry Lin illustrate the need for Critical Zone science and observatories, specifically. As observatories are established on a global scale (in Europe, China and Australia), the hopes of a new soil science grow. 

News Category:


(842 KB pdf)

Key Links


Discipline Tags and CZOs

All Disciplines

Shale Hills

Explore Further

NEWS | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010