Carbonate Critical Zone Research Coordination Network


The Carbonate Critical Zone Research Coordination Network (Carbonate CZ-RCN) aims to further transdisciplinary and collaborative science to aid the understanding of carbonate-rich Critical Zones and to foster a diverse and inclusive community of students and investigators.



  1. Identify critical knowledge gaps and develop forward-looking research questions.
  2. Improve understanding of how carbonate and silicate minerals may cause different CZ properties and processes.
  3. Attract and develop an interdisciplinary group of scholars and students
  4. Build capacity in state of the art techniques used to study carbonate Critical Zones.
  5. Increase the number of scholars and researchers from underrepresented groups.



The Carbonate CZ RCN will convene three field workshops and two workshops at major disciplinary conferences.

  • Field workshops will occur in distinct carbonate regions that cross gradients of rock age, climate, and tectonism and will integrate across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Conference workshops will focus on specific disciplines associated with the particular conference (e.g., geological, hydrological, ecological) and will include special sessions and roundtable discussions across multiple carbonate CZs.


Each workshop will have a training component for graduate and undergraduate students.

    • Possible topics include data sources, programming tools, monitoring (hydrologic and ecosystem), and modeling techniques.
    • Training modules will be available for download to expand their use in education of new investigators.



First Field Workshop

Reserve the date!

The first field workshop will be in Pennsylvania August 2-5, 2020.  The workshop includes a field trip to Central PA Karst and the SSHCZO, followed by working group discussions and training modules in Philadelphia.  Registration details will be posted shortly.  Participant support is available through application .

About Critical Zones:

The Earth’s Critical Zone, defined as the region from the tops of the trees to the bottom of the groundwater, provides life-sustaining resources including food production, water quality, and other ecosystem services.  Over the last decade the National Science Foundation funded Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) network has transformed our  understanding of how critical zone (CZ) processes regulate the production of these services. However, none of the CZOs within the network occur in landscapes underlain by carbonate bedrock (which cover about a quarter of Earth’s land surface), limiting the development of a holistic understanding of CZ processes.

"After Chorover et al, 2007. Catalina-Jemez CZO."
"After Chorover et al, 2007. Catalina-Jemez CZO."