Summer Soil Temperatures On Algific Talus Slopes In Northeast Iowa

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Biological Sciences

Publication Date



Soil temperatures at 15 cm depth were recorded on a single occasion at multiple grid points on two algific talus slopes during the summer of 1999. To represent and compare soil temperatures over a wider area, soil temperatures were measured (less intensively) at five other algific slopes and three non-algific forested slopes. Algific slopes appear to have greater variation in soil temperatures than non-algific sites. Spatial variation in algific slope soil temperatures ranged from 4-25°C. During the 10 day sample period temporal variation in air temperature at a nearby weather station had a similar range. Isotherm plots reveal a heterogeneous distribution of cold temperatures on these slopes, suggesting that cold air flow is restricted to certain localized pockets on already small, isolated, and fragmented sites. The localized nature of these coldest temperatures suggest that cold air flow is linked to substrata layering. Because these cold air vents are apparently easily disturbed by walking on the talus slopes, we suggest use of a ladder to allow sampling fragile algific slopes. This sampling method will lessen slope damage and disturbance, while providing access to sites for study.


This article was originally published in Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science


© Copyright 2005 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.