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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 63 No. 4, p. 788-792
    Received: June 8, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): laowu@mail.ucr.edu
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Measuring Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity using a Generalized Solution for Single-Ring Infiltrometers

  1. L. Wu *a,
  2. L. Panb,
  3. J. Mitchellc and
  4. B. Sandend
  1. a Dep. of Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521 USA
    b Earth Sci. Div., Lawrence Berkeley National Lab., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 95720 USA
    c Kearney Agri. Center, Univ. of California, Parlier, CA 93648 USA
    d Univ. of California Coop. Ext., Kern County, Bakersfield, CA 93307 USA


Saturated hydraulic conductivity is a measure of the ability of a soil to transmit water and is one of the most important soil parameters. New single-ring infiltrometer methods that use a generalized solution to measure the field saturated hydraulic conductivity (K s) were developed and tested in this study. The K s values can be calculated either from the whole cumulative infiltration curve (Method 1) or from the steady-state part of the cumulative infiltration curve by using a correction factor (Method 2). Numerical evaluation showed that the K s values calculated from the simulated infiltration curves of representative soil textural types were in the range of 87 to 130% of the real K s values. Field infiltration tests were conducted on an Arlington fine sandy loam (coarse-loamy, mixed, thermic, Haplic Durixeralfs). The geometric means of the K s values calculated from the field-measured infiltration curves by Method 1 and Method 2 were not significantly different. The geometric mean of the K s calculated from the detached core samples, however, was about twice that of the K s calculated from the infiltration curves, which was consistent with earlier findings. Unlike the earlier approaches, Method 1 calculates K s values from the whole infiltration curve without assuming a fixed relationship ( α = K s / ϕ m ) between saturated hydraulic conductivity and matric flux potential ϕm

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