Microbial facies distribution and its geological and geochemical controls at the Hanford 300 area
Abstract:Efforts have been made by various scientific disciplines to study hyporheic zones and characterize their associated processes. One way to approach the study of the hyporheic zone is to define facies, which are elements of a (hydrobio) geologic classification scheme that groups components of a complex system with high variability into a manageable set of discrete classes.
In this study, we try to classify the hyporheic zone based on the geology, geochemistry, microbiology, and understand their interactive influences on the integrated biogeochemical distributions and processes. A number of measurements have been taken for 21 freeze core samples along the Columbia River bank in the Hanford 300 Area, and unique datasets have been obtained on biomass, pH, number of microbial taxa, percentage of N/C/H/S, microbial activity parameters, as well as microbial community attributes/modules. In order to gain a complete understanding of the geological control on these variables and processes, the explanatory variables are set to include quantitative gravel/sand/mud/silt/clay percentages, statistical moments of grain size distributions, as well as geological (e.g., Folk-Wentworth) and statistical (e.g., hierarchical) clusters. The dominant factors for major microbial and geochemical variables are identified and summarized using exploratory data analysis approaches (e.g., principal component analysis, hierarchical clustering, factor analysis, multivariate analysis of variance). The feasibility of extending the facies definition and its control of microbial and geochemical properties to larger scales is discussed.