The University of Arizona
SWES dept logo Environmental Biogeochemistry Group Sabino Fall color
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science


Research Project:
Jemez River Basin - Santa Catalina Mountains NSF Critical Zone Observatory

The Jemez River Basin Santa Catalina Mountains Critical Zone Observatory (JRB-SCM-CZO) was established with National Science Foundation (EAR) funding in 2009 (Principal Investigators: Jon Chorover and Peter Troch). Twelve UA faculty on the project derive from five departments, and several collaborating institutions are also involved. The JRB-SCM CZO comprises two observatory sites, one in northern New Mexico (JRB) within the Rio Grande Basin, and the other in southern Arizona (SCM) within the Colorado River Basin. These sites span gradients in climate, lithology, and biota to represent variation found in the larger southwestern US.

Observatory design is guided by the research question: How does variability in climate and lithology influence CZ structure and function over both short (e.g., hydrologic event) and long (e.g., landscape evolution) time scales? Field and modeling research are integrated through four cross-cutting science themes: (i) Ecohydrology and Hydrologic Partitioning, (ii) Subsurface Biogeochemistry, (iii) Surface Water Dynamics, and (iv) Landscape Evolution. The CZO is a unique opportunity for students and postdoctoral scientists who are interested in participating in cross-disciplinary earth surface science research.

For more information on the CZO, see

CZO map CZO crew
Group Contacts:
Bryan Moravec and Jon Chorover  

PIs: Jon Chorover and Peter Troch

Co-PIs: Craig Rasmussen, Paul Brooks, Jon Pelletier, Jennifer McIntosh, Marcel Schaap, Shirley Papuga, Tom Meixner, Dave Breshears, Kathleen Lohse, and Travis Huxman


Funding Source:
National Science Foundation, Earth Sciences Division 

Selected Project References (click here for full publication list):
  • Chorover, J., R. Kretzschmar, F. Garcia-Pichel, and D. L. Sparks. 2007. Soil biogeochemical processes in the critical zone. Elements 3, 321-326.

  • Rasmussen, C., P.A. Troch, J. Chorover, P. Brooks, J. Pelletier, and T.E. Huxman. 2010. An open system energy-based framework for predicting Critical Zone structure and function. Biogeochemistry, DOI 10.1007/s10533-010-9476-8.

  • Chorover, J., P. A. Troch, C. Rasmussen, P. D. Brooks, J. D. Pelletier, D. Breshears, T. Huxman, K. Lohse, J. McIntosh, T. Meixner, S. Papuga, M. Schaap, M. Litvak, J. Perdrial, A. Harpold, M. Durcik. In review. Jemez River Basin Santa Catalina Mountains (JRB-SCM) Critical Zone Observatory: Probing how water, carbon, and energy drive landscape evolution and surface water response. Vadose Zone Journal (special issue on the Critical Zone).


Updated September 2, 2016

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