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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 46 No. 6, p. 1143-1146
    Received: Feb 26, 1982
    Accepted: June 24, 1982

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Theories and Tests of Electrical Conductivity in Soils1

  1. Hinrich L. Bohn,
  2. Jiftah Ben-Asher,
  3. Hadi S. Tabbara and
  4. Mukhtar Marwan2



The soil's specific electrical conductivity (ECa) is similar in principle to the EC of a pure solution, but the nonconducting soil air and solids cause complications. The ECa measured by four-electrode Wenner arrays in laboratory and field experiments was linearly proportional to the product of the soluble salt concentration and the soil water content over a salinity range of 0 to 40 dS/m in the soil solution and 0.1 to 15 bar soil water suction. Theories of soil EC based on a conductivity cell and microscale conduction were compared to a macroscale theory and all explained the measured results equally well. Soil can be viewed as an intricate container for electrolyte solution, as a conductor having a tortuous path, or as many conduction paths of varying cross section and length. The macro model was extended to relate ECa to soil water potential, but ECa appears to be inherently dependent on both the soil moisture and salt contents.

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