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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 61 No. 6, p. 1738-1745
    Received: Aug 30, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Water Movement and Solute Transport through Saprolite

  1. K. Li,
  2. A. Amoozegar ,
  3. W. P. Robarge and
  4. S. W. Buol
  1. Natural Resources Dep., North Carolina A&T Univ., Greensboro, NC 27411
    Soil Science Dep., North Carolina State Univ., Raleigh, NC 27695-7619



Many soils are underlain by saprolite. The purpose of this study was to assess the potential for preferential movement of pollutants through one soil and two saprolites in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. At one site (Site 1), two 100 by 100 by 100 cm intact blocks were isolated in situ in the Bt horizon and underlying saprolite, and a solution containing KBr, NH4NO3, a blue dye, and a red dye was applied to the top of each block. At a second location (Site 2), a 120 by 120 by 100 cm intact block of saprolite was similarly prepared. Acid red dye powder (5 g) was placed in four small holes (3 cm deep) bored into the surface of the block, and the block was leached with a solution containing only KBr and NH4NO3. After drainage, each block was dissected layer by layer (5 or 10 cm thick), and the middle 80 by 80 by 100 cm volume was divided into 768 samples and analyzed for K+, Br-, NH+4, and NO-3, as well as dye content. The visible patterns of the dyes, and extracted solute concentrations, at Site 1 indicated that preferential movement was more pronounced in the Bt horizon than in the saprolite. At Site 2, the red dye and solutes moved vertically with little lateral deviation. Our results suggest that vertical water movement in the two saprolites occurs mainly through matrix pores with little preferential movement via the visible features inherited from respective parent rocks.

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