Soil Geochemistry in the Critical Zone: Influence on Atmosphere, Surface- and Groundwater Composition

Julia Perdrial, Aaron Thompson, Jon Chorover

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations


In this chapter we introduce soil biogeochemical processes that have broad influence on Critical Zone function. Soil comprises all unconsolidated material above competent bedrock that is open to - and structured by - fluxes of energy and matter. These fluxes drive biotic and abiotic reactions that result from the open system disequilibria. While (bio)geochemical reactions occur at the molecular scale, they have implications for ecosystem function and human sustainability. Many of the characteristic changes of the Anthropocene - including climatic and land use changes - have direct influence on soil biogeochemistry with cascading effects on the capacity of the Critical Zone to sustain human life. Here we highlight several of these "scalable" soil biogeochemical reactions, give examples on how they are impacted by external forcings, and show how they "reach" beyond the extent of soils to impact atmosphere, surface- and groundwater composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Earth Surface Processes, 2015
EditorsChris Houser, John R. Giardino
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9780444633699
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameDevelopments in Earth Surface Processes
ISSN (Print)0928-2025


  • Anthropocene
  • Climate
  • Dissipative products
  • Molecular to global scale
  • Open system
  • Soil biogeochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science


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