I’m thrilled to announce the publication of the first manuscript from my PhD research in JGR-Earth Surface, “Controls on Physical and Chemical Denudation in a Mixed Carbonate-Siliciclastic Orogen”, or as we the co-authors have come to call her: “Gloria”*.
This work addresses the mechanisms that control chemical weathering and physical erosion processes of carbonates and silicates within the picturesque Northern Apennine Mountains of Italy, a mixed lithology mountain range.
Our results in this study are particularly interesting in the context of carbonate weathering, where we find that weathering limits differ between the subsurface and exported fluxes of material, and that secondary carbonate precipitation is an important process than can convert solutes back into solid carbonate. The results of this research importantly have implications among uplift, weathering, and the carbon cycle.
* I can highly recommend assigning names to your manuscripts, even after they have official titles. Assuming your co-authors have a good sense of humor (as mine thankfully did), your manuscript can become an easy source of comedy and light-hearted joking, even when words like “major revisions” are looming over your head.
Non-Scientific Jargon Translation of my Announcement
I’m (still) thrilled to announce the publication of the first part of my PhD research as an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research- Earth Surface.
In this article, we discuss what controls the physical breakdown (erosion) and chemical dissolution (weathering) of rocks, specifically in the Northern Apennine Mountains of Italy. This setting was of particular interest to us because it’s a mountain landscape that exposes mixed rock types (carbonates and silicates), and these rock types tend to erode and weather differently. Most previous studies with similar objectives have focused on landscapes that are dominated by only one of these rock types, whereas many actively growing mountain ranges expose both carbonates and silicates in appreciable volumes, like the Northern Apennines, so it’s important to understand how the controls on weathering and erosion differ in such landscapes.
The weathering and erosion of carbonate rocks became a particularly fascinating topic for us to address, because we found that much of the (primary) carbonate that was initially dissolved in soil and subsequently transported to the river channel was then being converted back into solid (secondary) carbonate through chemical precipitation. So, the carbonate sand that we were measuring and observing in the river channel is effectively a “mixed bag” of both primary and secondary material. This mixed bag of material is ultimately part of a complicated recycling process where carbonate can alternate between a dissolved state (ions in the river water) and a solid state (carbonate rock). On a broader level, this research is important because it improves our understanding of whether and how the erosion and weathering of carbonate rock can impact the global carbon cycle and climate.