Margaret Zimmer - UC Santa Cruz

Nov. 13, 2018, 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Geology 3656

Presented By:
Margaret Zimmer
UC Santa Cruz

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More soil, less storage: The influence of soil characteristics on subsurface water storage and runoff generation

Hydrologic first principles indicate that steeper slopes and thinner soils drive faster streamflow production, shorter internal catchment water residence times, and thus less catchment water storage. Yet, in our recent analysis of long-term (10+ years) daily runoff from 73 USGS gaging stations across the Appalachian Mountain and Piedmont physiographic provinces of North Carolina, USA, we found the opposite response. In this seminar talk, I present a synthesis of observational and empirical data analysis results from hillslope to regional scale sites to demonstrate how shallow subsurface structure and stratigraphy may drive counter-intuitive hydrological behaviors. I demonstrate how differential subsurface development in watersheds with varying topography have varying implications for predicted runoff responses to land-use development, natural hazards (flash flooding, droughts) and other environmental change.