MSc graduate defense seminar for LRIGS member, Nathan Storey, Friday, July 7 at 9:30 am, 4-42 Earth Sciences Building. “Wildfire impacts to soil in Alberta’s southern Rocky Mountains: pyrogenic carbon abundance and character on a post-wildfire landscape”.
Abstract: Pyrogenic carbon (PyC) is a broad class of fire byproducts produced during wildfire. This study assessed watersheds affected by the Kenow Wildfire in 2017 in Waterton Park. Soil was sampled in 2018 from 0-5 cm and 2021, from 0-5 and 5-15 cm in depth and analyzed for TC, TN, particle size distribution, and PyC quantity via chemical oxidation and chemical composition via pyrolysis-GCMS. Sites were assessed for slope and aspect characteristics. Relationships between PyC and time, depth, burn status, soil texture class, and total carbon were evaluated. Soils from burned watersheds showed enrichment of PyC directly following wildfire and four years afterwards. Levels decreased on short timescales in shallow soils, leading to substantial increases in benzene/aromatics and PAHs in soil from 5-15 cm. The PyC content of soil total carbon decreased on a gradient of time since fire, potentially diluted by OM deposition.