Field variability of carbon isotopes in soil organic carbon

S. W. Leavitt, E. A. Paul, E. Pendall, P. J. Pinter, B. A. Kimball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) plant-growth experiments conducted in Arizona have allowed a spinoff isotope tracer experiment (tank CO2 is 14C- and 13C-depleted) to follow the input of carbon into soil organic matter pools. Accurate assessment of the 14C and 13C inputs to soils by this pathway requires detailed knowledge of the isotopic composition of the soils before the experiments. We have examined the variability of δ13C in soil organic matter in 8 experimental plots prior to the beginning of the 1995-96 FACE experiments with wheat. δ13C variability was higher immediately after harvest of a previous crop in June, but the plots were much more homogeneous five months later immediately before planting. Intervening field management, including disking, plowing and installation of irrigation drip tape likely contributed to mixing the soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-454
Number of pages4
JournalNuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Instrumentation


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