Proposed initiative would study Earth's weathering engine Journal Article uri icon



  • At the Earth's surface, a complex suite of chemical, biological, and physical processes combines to create the engine that transforms bedrock into soil (Figure 1). Earth's weathering engine provides nutrients to nourish ecosystems and human society mediates the transport of toxic components within the biosphere, creates water flow paths that carve and weaken bedrock, and contributes to the evolution of landscapes at all temporal and spatial scales. At the longest time scales, the weathering engine sequesters CO2, thereby influencing long‐term climate change.Despite the importance of soil, our knowledge of the rate of soil formation is limited because the weathering zone forms a complex, ever‐changing interface, and because scientific approaches and funding paradigms have not promoted integrated research agendas to investigate such complex interactions. No national initiative has promoted a systems approach to investigation of weathering science across the broad array of geology, soil science, ecology and hydrology. Such a program is certainly needed, and this article describes a platform on which to build the initiative to answer the following question: How does the Earth weathering engine break down rock to nourish ecosystems, carve errestrial landscapes, and control carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere?

publication date

  • July 13, 2004

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • January 23, 2014 2:51 AM

Full Author List

  • Anderson SP; Blum J; Brantley SL; Chadwick O; Chorover J; Derry LA; Drever JI; Hering JG; Kirchner JW; Kump LR

author count

  • 12

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0096-3941

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2324-9250

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 265

end page

  • 269


  • 85


  • 28