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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Fractal Parameters of Pore Surface Area as Influenced by Simulated Soil Degradation


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 59 No. 1, p. 68-75
    Received: Jan 7, 1994

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Ya. A. Pachepsky ,
  2. T. A. Polubesova,
  3. M. Hajnos,
  4. Z. Sokolowska and
  5. G. Józefaciuk
  1. USDA-ARS Systems Research Lab., Bldg. 007, Rm. 008, BARC-West, Beltsville, MD 20705
    Inst. of Soil Science and Photosynthesis, Pushchino 142292, Russia
    Inst. of Agrophysics, Lublin 20280, Poland



Fractal parameters of soils become increasingly important in understanding and quantifying transport and adsorption phenomena in soils. It is not known yet how soil degradation affects fractal characteristics of soil pores. We estimated pore surface area fractal parameters from Hg porosimetry data on samples of a Udic Argiboroll, a Typic Haploboroll, and a Ustolic Orthid before and after simulated soil degradation. Three or four distinct intervals with different fractal dimensions were found in the range of pore radii from 4 nm to 5 µm. This was attributed to differences in composition of soil particles of different sizes. The simulated degradation caused an increase in fractal dimensions in one or more fractal intervals, thus manifesting the increased roughness and irregularity of the pore surfaces. The interval of the smallest radii had the highest average fractal dimension, close to 3; some estimated values were >3, probably due to the compressibility of bulk material and air entrapment. Values of the fractal dimension in this interval increased after cyclic wetting-drying but were not affected by organic matter oxidation. Smaller fractal dimensions were found in the next interval of radii. Here average fractal dimension increased markedly after organic matter oxidation and grew slightly after cyclic wetting-drying, reflecting the loss of bonds between particles. The range of largest radii included two fractal intervals after cyclic wetting-drying and one fractal interval for all other samples. Neither organic matter oxidation nor cyclic wetting-drying significantly affected the boundaries between the fractal intervals.

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