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Seismic constraints on critical zone architecture, Boulder Creek watershed, Front Range, Colorado

Kevin M. Befus, A. F. Sheehan, M. Leopold, S. P. Anderson and R. S. Anderson
Seismic constraints on critical zone architecture, Boulder Creek watershed, Front Range, Colorado (in Critical zone observatories, Henry Lin (prefacer), Jan W. Hopmans (prefacer) and Daniel deB. Richter (prefacer))
Vadose Zone Journal (August 2011) 10 (3): 915-927


We use a minimally invasive, shallow geophysical technique to image the structure of the critical zone from surface to bedrock (0-20 m) in two small drainages within the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory (BcCZO). Shallow seismic refraction (SSR) surveys provide a three-dimensional network of two-dimensional cross-sections (termed quasi-3D) of critical zone compressional wave velocity (V (sub p) ) structure within each catchment, yielding a spatial description of the current critical zone structure. The two catchments, Betasso and Gordon Gulch, represent contrasting geomorphic histories within the Front Range: Betasso shows hillslope response to a late Cenozoic increase in fluvial incision of Boulder Creek, while Gordon Gulch represents more steady erosion. The mean depth to fresh bedrock in both catchments is roughly 15 m. Unique subsurface features in each catchment reflect active geomorphic processes not suggested by similarities in mean interface depths. Betasso contains thick disaggregated materials high in the drainage that are nearly absent near the outlet. This presumably reflects the impact of base-level lowering, which we suggest has progressed roughly 500 to 1000 m up into the catchment. Aspect-driven differences in the subsurface within each catchment add complexity and overprint the broader geomorphic signals. Shallow seismic refraction subsurface structure models will guide future investigations of critical zone processes from landscape to hydrologic modeling and are invaluable as connections between time-consuming point measurements of physical, chemical, and biological processes.

ISSN: 1539-1663
Serial Title: Vadose Zone Journal
Serial Volume: 10
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Seismic constraints on critical zone architecture, Boulder Creek watershed, Front Range, Colorado
Title: Critical zone observatories
Author(s): Befus, Kevin M.Sheehan, A. F.Leopold, M.Anderson, S. P.Anderson, R. S.
Author(s): Lin, Henryprefacer
Author(s): Hopmans, Jan W.prefacer
Author(s): Richter, Daniel deB.prefacer
Affiliation: University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Geological Sciences, Boulder, CO, United States
Affiliation: Pennsylvania State University, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, University Park, PA, United States
Pages: 915-927
Published: 201108
Text Language: English
Publisher: Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, United States
References: 35
Accession Number: 2012-005435
Categories: Applied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
Source Medium: WWW
N39°49'60" - N40°04'60", W105°34'60" - W105°07'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Soil Science Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201203
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