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The Critical Zone Exploration Network (CZEN) is a community of people and a network of field sites investigating processes within the Critical Zone, defined as the Earth’s outer layer from vegetation canopy to the soil and groundwater that sustains human life. CZEN members are a diverse group of researchers and educators who study the physical, chemical and biological processes shaping and transforming Earth’s Critical Zone. This research spans a wide range of disciplines including geosciences, hydrology, microbiology, ecology, soil science, and engineering. CZEN encourages all researchers working in the Critical Zone to join the effort by registering on this site and contributing content. CZEN’s primary goal is to create a network of observatories for investigating Critical Zone processes such as weathering and soil formation. Through this network, researchers can access and integrate data in a way that allows isolation of environmental variables and comparison of environmental effects across gradients of time, lithology, human disturbance, biological activity and topography.

CZEN driving questions
CZEN driving questions

CZEN 2013 International Report Public Consultation on International CZOs
Register your views on the draft science agenda and next steps for organizing international CZO research

An international meeting of Critical Zone (CZ) researchers supported by the US NSF and the European Commission FP7 project SoilTrEC met at the University of Delaware during November 2011. The meeting summarised international advances in CZ science and took the initial steps towards forming an international Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) research programme and a 10-year CZ science agenda. The full report from that meeting has been published by the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, and is now available for download.

We invite public input on the 1-page outline plan for developing an international CZO research programme.

Thank you in advance for your participation in this consultation.



Frontiers in Exploration of the Critical ZoneCZEN is supported by the National Science Foundation. An overview of CZEN’s research philosophy and agenda can be found in Frontiers in Exploration of the Critical Zone.