Alum Helps Build the Biggest Lab Experiment in Earth Sciences

Three hill slopes, each contained in steel housing at Biosphere 2, are collectively known as the Landscape Evolution Observatory. Photo by Bob Demers/UANews.

According to CEEM alumnus Allan Ortega-Gutiérrez, the Landscape Evolution Observatory at UA's Biosphere 2 "breaks some of the rules" of traditional structural engineering. "LEO is one of those things that becomes a marriage between science and engineering." 

Researchers use the three huge slopes – consisting of approximately 500 metric tons of crushed basalt – to observe the interactions between air, water, soil, plants and microbes. 

Ortega-Gutiérrez, who received his master's degree in civil engineering in 2003, explains some of the unique challenges of the project in a YouTube video by UANews.

 

Photo by Bob Demers/UANews

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