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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Soil Solution Chemistry: Effects of Bulking Soil Samples


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 57 No. 5, p. 1283-1288
    Received: May 26, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. R. Giesler  and
  2. U. Lundström
  1. Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, Dep. of Forest Ecology, Soil Science Section, S-901 83 Umeå, Sweden



Bulking of soil samples is commonly used to obtain a spatially averaged measure of soil properties. This study investigated whether bulking can affect the chemistry of soil solution extracted by the centrifuge drainage technique. The short-range variation within a 1-m-wide pit face was also investigated. Systematic differences were found between the chemistry of soil solutions taken from bulked and unbulked soil samples. The soil samples studied were taken on several occasions from the upper and lower part of a Bs horizon. Samples of soil solution extracted from replicate bulked soil samples contained significantly (P ≤ 0.05) larger amounts of Si, Na, Mg, and K as well as significantly (P ≤ 0.05) smaller amounts of Al and Fe than soil solution from unbulked samples. Bulking reduced the variation in all solutes measured, although a variation remained in replicates from the bulked sample. The variation between individual core samples taken just a few tens of centimeters apart can be considerable, although the magnitude of variation differs depending on the solute studied. The results suggest that unbulked soil samples may be preferable, especially when Al or Fe chemistry is studied and a centrifuge drainage technique is used.

Contribution from Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, contract no. Dnr 802-761-91-Fs.

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