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Effect of antecedent soil moisture on preferential flow in a texture-contrast soil


Hardie, MA and Cotching, WE and Doyle, RB and Holz, GK and Lisson, S and Mattern, K, Effect of antecedent soil moisture on preferential flow in a texture-contrast soil, Journal of Hydrology, 398, (3-4) pp. 191-201. ISSN 0022-1694 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.12.008


The effect of soil moisture status on preferential flow in a texture-contrast soil was investigated by applying 25 mm Brilliant Blue dye tracer to soil profiles at high and low antecedent soil moisture. Differences in soil morphology and chemistry between soil profiles had little effect on the depth of dye infiltration and dye distribution down the profile. Antecedent soil moisture strongly influenced the type, depth and rate of dye tracer movement. In the wet treatment, the dye tracer infiltrated to depths between 0.24 and 0.40 m, at an average rate of 120 mm h−1. Whilst in the dry treatment, the same volume of dye tracer infiltrated to between 0.85 and 1.19 m depth at an average rate of 1160 mm h−1. In dry antecedent conditions, finger flow developed in the A1 horizon as a result of water repellency. In the wet treatment, the wetting front developed permutations but did not break into fingers. Despite similar particle size distributions, flow in the A2e was slower than the A1 horizon, due to the absence of macropores. In the dry treatment, the dye tracer ponded on the upper surface of the B21 horizon, which then spilled down the sides of the large clay columns as rivulets, at rates of between 2000 and 3000 mm h−1. The dye tracer accumulated at the base of the columns resulting in backfilling of the inter column shrinkage cracks, at an estimated rate of 750 mm h−1. In the subsoil, water movement occurred via shrinkage cracks which resulted in flow by-passing 99% of the soil matrix in the B21 horizon and 94% of the soil matrix in the B22 horizon. Evidence of rapid and deep infiltration in ‘dry’ texture-contrast soils has implications for water and solute management. This knowledge could be used to: (i) improve irrigation and fertilizer efficiency (ii) explain variations in crop yield (iii) reduce salinity through improved leaching practices, (iv) reduce the risk of agrochemicals contaminating shallow groundwater

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Duplex; Dye tracer; Finger flow; Funnel flow; Macropore flow; Shrinkage crack
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Soil sciences
Research Field:Soil physics
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hardie, MA (Mr Marcus Hardie)
UTAS Author:Cotching, WE (Dr Bill Cotching)
UTAS Author:Doyle, RB (Associate Professor Richard Doyle)
UTAS Author:Holz, GK (Dr Greg Holz)
UTAS Author:Lisson, S (Dr Shaun Lisson)
UTAS Author:Mattern, K (Ms Kathrin Mattern)
ID Code:66759
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:105
Deposited By:Agricultural Science
Deposited On:2011-02-10
Last Modified:2017-04-11
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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