Bogner, C; Mirzaei, MR; Ruy, S; Huwe, B: Microtopography, water storage and flow patterns in a fine-textured soil under agricultural use, Hydrological Processes, 27, 1797-1806 (2012), doi:10.1002/hyp.9337

Agricultural use of soils implies tillage and often compaction and therefore influences processes on soil surface and affects infiltration of water into the subsoil. Although many studies on soil surface processes or flow patterns in soils exist, works relating both are rare in literature. We did two tracer experiments with Brilliant Blue FCF on a tilled and compacted plot and a non-tilled one to investigate water storage on the soil surface during simulated rainfall and changes of soil microtopography, to analyse the associated flow patterns in the soil and to relate both to tillage and compaction. Our results show that storage was larger on the tilled and compacted plot than on the non-tilled one. After tillage, transport processes above the plough pan were partly disconnected from those underneath because macropores were disrupted and buried by the tillage operation. However, preferential flow along cracks occurred on both plots and the macropores buried below the tillage pan still functioned as preferential flow paths. Therefore, we conclude that the studied soil is susceptible to deep vertical solute propagation at dry conditions when cracks are open, irrespective of tillage and compaction.

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