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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 2, p. 448-458
    Received: Mar 23, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): aer@geus.dk
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Fluorescence Imaging Applied to Tracer Distributions in Variably Saturated Fractured Clayey Till

  1. Annette E. Rosenbom *a,
  2. Vibeke Ernstsena,
  3. Hannes Flühlerb,
  4. Karsten H. Jensenc,
  5. Jens Christian Refsgaarda and
  6. Hannes Wydlerb
  1. a Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Øster Voldgade 10, DK 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark
    b Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETHZ), Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, Universitätstrasse 16, CHN-F28.1, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
    c Univ. of Copenhagen, Dep. of Geography & Geology, Øster Voldgade 10, DK 1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark


The study of mechanisms controlling preferential flow and transport in variably saturated fractured clayey till is often hindered by insufficient spatial resolution or unknown measuring volume. With the objective to study these mechanisms while circumventing the obstacles, tracer experiments with two fluorescent tracers Acid Yellow 7 (AY7) and Sulforhodamine B (SB) were performed at three different rain events for a fall and a summer season. Irrigated areas were excavated down to depths of 2.8 m and the movement of both tracers in the exposed profiles was delineated simultaneously by high spatial resolution apparent concentration maps (pixel ∼1 mm2) obtained with an imaging device. The device consists of a light source and a CCD camera, both equipped with tracer-specific-filters for fluorescent light. The fluorescence images were corrected for nonuniform lighting, changing surface roughness, and varying optical properties of the soil profile. The resulting two-dimensional apparent concentration distribution profiles of the tracers showed that: (i) relative low water content in the upper 10 cm of the irrigated till in summer had a pronounced retardation effect on the AY7-migration and no effect on the SB-migration; (ii) the dead-end biopores were not activated in the fall season; (iii) only 3D fracture-plans connected to hydraulically active 1D-biopores contributed to the leaching; (iv) the tracer migration primary followed macropores during both seasons, though AY7 also followed a topsoil piston transport in summer; (v) the highest tracer pixel apparent concentrations were often found in macropores and most pronounced in the summer season; and (vi) 3D-dilution in fractures seems to play a dominating role in AY7-migration in the fall season.

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Copyright © 2008. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyAmerican Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America