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SGS-LTER Transect Study - Organic Carbon in Soils across Toposequences on the Central Plains Experimental Range, Nunn, Colorado, USA 1983-1984

Metadata Updated: November 10, 2020

This data package was produced by researchers working on the Shortgrass Steppe Long Term Ecological Research (SGS-LTER) Project, administered at Colorado State University. Long-term datasets and background information (proposals, reports, photographs, etc.) on the SGS-LTER project are contained in a comprehensive project collection within the Digital Collections of Colorado ( The data table and associated metadata document, which is generated in Ecological Metadata Language, may be available through other repositories serving the ecological research community and represent components of the larger SGS-LTER project collection. CPER SOC across Toposequences - Pedons and their corresponding topography were described along an 8 km transect oriented normal to the major drainages of the CPER. A total of 140 pedons representing 23 toposequences and 7 plains segments were characterized. Sampling sites were selected within toposequences according to slope position (summit, shoulder, backslope, footslope, toeslope) and within plains segments at approximate 100 m intervals. Pedons were described and sampled by genetic horizon according to the standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Analyses, conducted at Colorado State University, included particle size and organic C. Bulk density was estimated empirically according to: Rawls, W.J. 1983. Estimating soil bulk density form particle size analysis and organic matter content. Soil Sci 135: 123-125. Organic C accumulation was measured along an 8 km transect at a site in the semiarid shortgrass steppe of northeastern Colorado. Specific objectives of the study were to (I) measure the quantity and distribution of organic C across toposequences, (ii) test the hypothesis that a disproportionate amount of soil organic C resides in the lowlands (as defined herein), and (iii) assess the role of geomorphic history as a determinant of contemporary rates of biogeochemical organic C transformations. Results of the study showed the surface (A) horizon organic C concentration did not vary systematically among slope positions of a given toposequence. Similarly, the mass of organic C within the surface meter of soil often did not increase with decreasing elevation across a toposequence. Mass of organic C was found to range from 2.5 kg m^-3 on terrace escarpments to 10.7 kg m^-3 on sandy uplands. The mass of organic C, as calculated to the BCk horizon, was highest in the lowlands. The mass of buried organic C, as calculated uniformly for a 50 cm thickness of material, represents 17% of the total organic C estimate for the site. In spite of buried soils, lowlands did not contain a disproportionate amount of total landscape organic C. Additional information and referenced materials can be found:

Access & Use Information

Non-public: This dataset is not for public access or use. Specific details are provided below. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 10, 2020

Metadata Source

Harvested from USDA JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date November 10, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 10, 2020
Publisher Agricultural Research Service
Unique Identifier Unknown
Identifier knb-lter-sgs.175.17
Data Last Modified 2020-08-25
Public Access Level non-public
Bureau Code 005:18
Metadata Context
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
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Harvest Source Id d3fafa34-0cb9-48f1-ab1d-5b5fdc783806
Harvest Source Title USDA JSON
Program Code 005:040
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 31ff3515432a8d5f3ca55bf1b4ee1504924fc28d
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial POLYGON ((-104.785833 40.8575, -104.730556 40.8575, -104.730556 40.800278, -104.785833 40.800278))

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