Quantifying erosion and carbon fluxes driven by landslides



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Project Description

Landslides are a widespread hazard in steep landscapes threatening the mountainous community. Landslides also erode mass from hillslopes and reduce vertical relief, regulating the long-term evolution of mountain belts. Besides, landslides mobilize organic carbon from biomass, soils, and bedrocks, impacting the global carbon cycle and the Earth’s climate system. This project will quantify the material and carbon fluxes driven by landslides in active mountain ranges, aiming at a better understanding of the role of landslides in Earth’s surface environments. The research tasks include (1) producing high-quality landslide inventory maps in major active mountain ranges (e.g. Himalayas); (2) processing and measuring in collected samples from landslide-impacted mountain ranges to quantify carbon amount and compositions in landslide materials; (3) developing budgets of sediment and carbon mobilized by landslides at regional and global scales; and (4) analyzing the spatial patterns and locations of landslides. The students involved in the project will obtain training experiences in geospatial sciences, geomorphology, geochemistry, and the global carbon cycle. The outcomes of the research projects will provide key information for evaluating landslide hazards and the role of landslides in mountain erosion and the global carbon cycle. 


Undergraduate Contribution

1) facilitate developing landslide inventory maps through landslide mapping

2) help quantify the amount of carbon in landslide materials from analyzing collected samples in the lab

3) help analyze landslide locations and relationships to surrounding environments


Requirements and/or Application Instructions

Preferred experience in ArcGIS, Matlab, and wet chemistry laboratory work, but not required; contact PI (Gen Li, ligen@ucsb.edu) for application, and need to register for Earth 199