Chemical weathering in Taiwanese catchments: Towards quantification of the controls on chemical weathering fluxes.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Earth Sciences


The island of Taiwan offers an ideal natural laboratory for studying processes at high rates of physical erosion in tropical conditions. Here the operation of the chemical processes that control river water compositions by reactions with soils and bed rock is least well understood and yet critical both locally and globally. Rapidly eroding mountain environments contribute the majority of dissolved and particulate matter transported to the oceans and are responsible for the feedbacks that moderate Earth's long-term climate. They are also subject to extreme natural hazards including landslides, earthquakes, and rapid reservoir filling, and they maintain ecosystems that may be particularly sensitive to disturbance. All of these processes depend on the way that soils are established under conditions where soil material is removed rapidly, and often episodically, from the landscape. Understanding such soil-forming chemical processes in rapidly eroding settings is consequently critical both to the local environment, and to the global understanding of controls on the Earth' surficial environment.