South Atlantic Water Science Center - Georgia
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Small Watershed Studies at the Panola Mountain Research Watershed
Project Number: 2503-0021S
Watersheds are composed of chemically distinct environments. Consequently, a mechanistic determination of streamwater chemistry requires an understanding of the hydrologic pathways to the stream in the watershed as well as the interactions between the soil and water. The combination indicates that to understand streamwater chemistry, it is important to understand soil-solution chemistry. Yet, the regulation of soil-solution chemistry is poorly understood because, in part, the principles of thermodynamics governing solubility and the theory of ion exchange, absorption, and kinetics cannot be readily applied to complex natural systems.
Research is conducted at the Panola Mountain Research Watershed, a 41-hectare forested watershed in the Panola Mountain State Park. Intensive (or event-based) and extensive characterizations determine the physics and chemistry of soil and water at both the plot (10- to 100-meter2 area), and sub-catchment (4- to 20-hectare area) scales. Extensive characterizations focus on spatial distributions of physical and chemical characteristics of soils and water in plots distributed throughout the watershed.