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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geosciences (GEOSC)

GEOSC 405 (SOILS 405) Hydropedology (3) Soil and water interactions across scales, integrated studies of landscape- soil-water relationships, fundamental processes of water flow and chemical transport.


GEOSC (SOILS) 405 Hydropedology (3)

Hydropedology is the study of the fluxes, storages, pathways, residence times, and spatio-temporal organization of water in the root and deep vadose zones, and their relations to climate, ecosystem, land use, and contaminant fate. The aim is to characterize integrated physical, chemical, and biological processes of soil-water interactions across scales (including chemicals and energy transported by water flow). This course embraces interdisciplinary and multiscale studies of interactive pedological and hydrological processes in the earth's surface and subsurface environments. The course will address the fundamental issues and practical applications of hydropedology (as a sister discipline of hydrogeology). This course emphasizes in situ soils that have distinct characteristics of pedogenic features, structures, layers, and soil-landscape relationships in the real world. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of soil and water interactions across scales from point observations to watershed phenomena, and will gain skills in predicting flow pathways and water fluxes in the landscape. This course promotes active learning, critical thinking, and hands-on skills. Course format will consist of two lectures and one laboratory/field exercise each week. The course will utilize a network of local watersheds with different land uses for demonstrations and class projects. Grading will be based on weekly lab/field exercise (20%), class research project (40%), homework (10%), one midterm exams (15%), and one final exam (15%). Since hydropedology is linked to a wide array of environmental, ecological, geological, agricultural, and natural resource issues of societal importance, SOILS (GEOSC) 405 will support interdisciplinary training of students in Soil Science as well as in other disciplines of the College of Agricultural Sciences, especially Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Agronomy, and Forest Resources. Students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Engineering, Eberly College of Science, and the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology also will find this course useful when undertaking research on the vadose zone, the hydrologic cycle, and the earth system. The course will be offered every fall semester with an anticipated enrollment of 20 students per class.

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2008
Prerequisite: SOILS 101

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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