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Short Hair (2670 m elevation)

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The Short Hair field area is in the subalpine belt of the Sierra Nevada, located in the Sierra National Forest near Courtright Reservoir.

Short Hair landscape near flux tower. Photo by Erin Stacy.

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Setting & Research
Dynamic Map
  • Setting & Research

    This site is part of an elevational transect that increases in altitude from west to east.

    Sites include San Joaquin Experimental Range, Soaproot Saddle, Providence Creek Headwater Catchments, and Short Hair, spanning a 2300-m elevation range that captures gradients in climate, regolith, soils, and vegetation. Along this transect, bedrock lithology is generally constant (intrusive felsic plutons). Ecosystems range from low-elevation oak savannah (rain-dominated) to high-elevation subalpine forest (snow-dominated). A series of eddy-covariance gas flux towers are installed at these sites (see below). Examples of transect-length work include soil and regolith depth, chemistry, and moisture characterizations; vegetation surveys; forest water-balance research; and wind-blown dust geochemistry and microbiology studies.

    Climate, Landscape, Vegetation, Soils

    From O'Geen et al., 2018:

    The subalpine forest site Short Hair is the highest-elevation site in the elevational transect, and represents a headwater catchment situated along Short Hair Creek. Mean Annual Temperature: 4.2°C. Mean Annual Precipitation: 1078 mm yr−1.

    This site was glaciated in the Pleistocene resulting in hard weathered bedrock (WB) underlying soil (Gillespie and Zehfuss, 2004).

    The Short Hair site has a cryic soil temperature regime and udic soil moisture regime. The site has thin patchy and rocky soils that limit moisture storage intermixed with areas of deep glacial till. Soils are mapped as the Stecum series (sandy-skeletal mixed Typic Cryorthents).

    Vegetation community is mostly lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon) and western white pine (Pinus monticola Douglas ex D. Don).

    For additional information on climate and vegetation, see also Goulden et al., 2012.

    Panorama of Short Hair Creek tower site. July 2014. Photo by Erin Stacy.

    A full size image is available at the Sierra Nevada / San Joaquin Hydrologic Observatory digital library (external link).

    Flux Tower

    An eddy-covariance flux tower was installed at this site in October 2009. Due to harsh winter conditions and a falling tree, the flux tower was down from 2011-2014. A replacement tower was brought in by helicopter and raised by a team in August 2014. Instruments were reinstalled June 2015. Elevation of the tower is 2700 m above sea level.

    The flux tower is used to analyze the carbon and water balance of the surrounding forest. Instruments on the flux tower track changes in carbon dioxide, water vapor, air temperature, relative humidity, and other atmospheric properties.

    Hydrological monitoring infrastructure is located within the footprint of the eddy flux tower.

    Panorama of Short Hair Creek tower site. July 2014. Photo by Erin Stacy.

    A full size image is available at the Sierra Nevada / San Joaquin Hydrologic Observatory digital library (external link).

  • Dynamic Map

    To fully zoom into a small area, you may need to visit the "Map" button and uncheck "Terrain" view.

  • Data

    Flux Tower Transect, Short Hair Creek - Flux Tower, Meteorology (2009-2018)
    12 components    Short Hair (2670 m elevation)    Climatology / Meteorology, Biology / Ecology    Mike Goulden; Anne Kelly

    National - Flux Tower - AmeriFlux Network data (2007-2018)
    14 components    Boulder Creek Watershed, Jemez River Basin, Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed, Susquehanna Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory, San Joaquin Experimental Range (210-520 m elevation), Soaproot Saddle (1000-1500 m elevation), Short Hair (2670 m elevation)    Climatology / Meteorology    Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory; Catalina-Jemez Critical Zone Observatory; Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory; Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory; Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory

  • Photos

    SSCZO - Flux Towers

    An eddy covariance flux tower is located near the top of the P301 watershed. Instruments collect data on temperature, relative humidity, and fluxes of carbon dioxide and water vapor to determine the physiological responses of the site (for example, how photosynthesis increases with light) and summed over a year to determine the carbon balance of a site (how much carbon it is gaining or losing). Three other flux towers have been instrumented at different elevations with the Sierras including the San Joaquin River, Soaproot, and Short Hair Creek.

    This west-east transect spans elevation gradient from 400 m to 2700 m. The change in elevation is accompanied by a slight increase in precipitation, but the main change is a shift from rain-dominated precipitation to snow-dominated precipitation. The climatic shift plays out in other ways as well. At lower elevations, high temperatures and low water availability limit evapotranspiration by vegetation. Meanwhile, forest activity (evapotranspiration) at higher elevations is limited by cold winter temperatures. There is a sweet spot at middle elevations of yera-round evapotranspiration and forest activity.

    Photo galleries of each flux tower are available: San Joaquin Experimental Range;  Soaproot SaddleProvidence subcatchment P301; and Short Hair Creek.

    SSCZO - Instruments

    Hundreds of instruments and sensors have been deployed in the primary SSCZO research site of the Providence Creek watershed as well as in Wolverton basin.  Additional SSCZO flux towers and instruments have also been installed at the San Joaquin Experimental Range, Soaproot Saddle, and Short Hair Creek.

    Explore more photos of the intstuments and sensors used by SSCZO.

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  • Geology

    Short Hair Creek, 2700 m elevation
    Quad: Blackcap Mountain

    This site was glaciated in the Pleistocene (Gillespie and Zehfuss 2004) and is situated on glacial till. The bedrock immediately below the tower is of unknown composition. However, two different bedrock units are exposed within 500 m of the tower (Bateman 1965).

    Aplite and felsic quartz monzonite dikes (Kap)
    Dinkey Creek Granodiorite (Kdc, formerly Granodiorite of Dinkey Creek, same as P301)
    “Medium-grained, generally strongly foliated. Contains abundant disc-shaped mafic inclusions and mafic clots composed of hornblende, biotite, sphene, plagioclase, and opaque minerals. Intrudes the quartz diorite of Blue Canyon. Age by Rb-Sr whole-rock isochron 110 +/- 11 m.y.” (Bateman and Wones 1972). The mafic inclusions are “as much as 30 cm long and 5 cm thick. The mafic minerals are intergrown, and individual grains are anhedral” (Bateman 1992).

    SJER, 400 m elevation
    Quad: Millerton Lake
    Ward Mountain Trondhjemite (Kw) (formerly Leucotonalite of Ward Mountain)

    Soaproot Saddle, 1100 m elevation
    Quad: Shaver Lake
    Bass Lake Tonalite (Kbl, formerly Tonalite of Blue Canyon)

    P301, 2000 m elevation
    Quad: Huntington Lake
    Dinkey Creek Granodiorite (Kdc, formerly Granodiorite of Dinkey Creek)