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The relationship between topography, bedrock weathering, and water storage across a sequence of ridges and valleys

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Created: May 29, 2020 at 7:18 p.m.
Last updated: Jan 18, 2021 at 5:23 a.m.
DOI: 10.4211/hs.d49c5e4539a64d8f8e26e7f2668bdeb3
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Content types: File Set Content  Geographic Feature Content 
Sharing Status: Published
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Bedrock weathering regulates nutrient mobilization, water storage, and soil production. Relative to the mobile soil layer, little is known about the relationship between topography and bedrock weathering. Here, we identify a common pattern of weathering and water storage across a sequence of three ridges and valleys in the sedimentary Great Valley Sequence in Northern California that share a tectonic and climate history. Deep drilling, downhole logging, and characterization of chemistry and porosity reveal two weathering fronts. At ridgetops, the elevation of each front relative to the channel increases with hillslope length. The shallower front is approximately 7 m deep at the ridge of all three hillslopes and marks the onset of pervasive fracturing and oxidation of pyrite and organic carbon. A deeper weathering front marks the onset extent of open fractures and discoloration. This front is 11 m deep under two ridges of similar ridge-valley spacing, but 17.5 m deep under a ridge with nearly twice the ridge-valley spacing. In all three hillslopes, closed fractures in otherwise unweathered bedrock are found under ridges to at least the elevation of the adjacent channels. Neutron probe surveys reveal that seasonally dynamic moisture is stored to approximately the same depth as the shallow weathering front. Under the channels that bound our study hillslopes, the two weathering fronts coincide and occur within centimeters of the ground surface. Our findings provide evidence for feedbacks between erosion and weathering in mountainous landscapes that result in systematic subsurface structuring and water routing.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude



This folder contains subfolders of raw data ('Data'), output manuscript figures ('Figures'), and Python code files in Jupyter Notebook format ('Plotting Scripts') to accompany the manuscript by Pedrazas et al. on "The relationship between topography, bedrock weathering, and water storage across a sequence of ridges and valleys". The python scripts depend on common libraries (e.g. Pandas) that are included in most scientific python distributions (Anaconda is a good way to get python and these scripts up and running). Figures and data from supplemental information are included. 

For questions/comments, please contact Michelle A. Pedrazas (michellepedrazas at utexas dot edu).

Data Services

The following web services are available for data contained in this resource. Geospatial Feature and Raster data are made available via Open Geospatial Consortium Web Services. The provided links can be copied and pasted into GIS software to access these data. Multidimensional NetCDF data are made available via a THREDDS Data Server using remote data access protocols such as OPeNDAP. Other data services may be made available in the future to support additional data types.

How to Cite

Pedrazas, M. A. (2021). The relationship between topography, bedrock weathering, and water storage across a sequence of ridges and valleys, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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