Despite it’s critical role in the global carbon cycle, data documenting organic carbon oxidation and silicate weathering rates within rivers and their floodplains are rare, and the mechanisms controlling total silicate weathering and oxidative losses from sediment source to sink are poorly understood. We are currently performing a combination of laboratory flume experiments and targeted field measurements designed to disentangle weathering occurring in active river transport versus during temporary deposition in floodplains. Because organic carbon loading of sediments tends to increase with decreasing grain size, we are measuring the grain size distribution of our samples in the Sediment Laboratory to correct for any grain-size dependencies that exist. The results will elucidate the major mechanistic controls on silicate weathering and organic carbon oxidation in fluvial transit from source to sink, and allow for building process-based models linking sediment transport, organic carbon oxidation, and silicate weathering capable of predicting the influence of changing tectonic and climatic regimes on the global carbon cycle.

Principal Investigators

Master Students

  • Nina Golombek


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