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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 47 No. 5, p. 847-854
    Received: Oct 1, 1982
    Accepted: May 27, 1983

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Characterizing Unsaturated Hydraulic Conductivity of Western Kentucky Surface Mine Spoils and Soils1

  1. Andy Ward,
  2. L. G. Wells and
  3. R. E. Phillips2



A large-scale laboratory infiltrometer system was used to determine infiltration characteristics of “reconstructed” surface mine spoil and soil horizons. Soil water characteristic curves were determined using the Brooks-Corey and the Gardner procedures and developed based on desorption tensiometer data. Unsaturated hydraulic conductivity values were determined using the “plane of zero flux” procedure and compared with predictions resulting from models described by Campbell, Burdine, and Mualem for situations involving reconstructed soil and spoil materials. There was generally good agreement between the models and excellent agreement between Campbell's predictions and plane of zero flux results. Both the Gardner equation and the Brooks-Corey equation gave good estimates of the soil water characteristic curves for the materials. The physical significance of the parameters θr and ψe, when determined by statistical procedures, appears very questionable. In this study, the final steady-state infiltration rate appeared to be a good estimate of the hydraulic conductivity at apparent saturation.

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