Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) field trip

Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) field trip

In the early 2000s, more than 50 scientists at Penn State began studying one watershed in its entirety from bedrock to treetop. This layer is known as the “critical zone” because of its importance to humans. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) investigates critical zone processes in the upper part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The CZO brings together researchers from seven departments to study such diverse topics as carbon sequestration, carbon fluxes, nutrient cycling, erosion rates and soil genesis. We use equipment ranging from wells for water sampling to seismometers for measuring tree vibrations and a 100-foot tower that measures carbon dioxide, water and heat.

Field trip participants will tour pristine forests and cropland while discussing science with faculty and students as we consider how Pennsylvania contributes to the nutrient load of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Please dress appropriately for the weather and be ready for a little bit of hiking!

This field trip is sponsored by the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.



  • $20.00



Tuesday, October 29th, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
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Meet Penn State rep in the lobby of the Nittany Lion Inn to board transportation to location.