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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract - DIVISION S-1—SOIL PHYSICS

Construction and Performance of Large Soil Core Lysimeters


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 66 No. 5, p. 1446-1453
    Received: Apr 2, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): nathan.derby@ndsu.nodak.edu
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  1. Nathan E. Derby *a,
  2. Raymond E. Knightonb and
  3. Bruce R. Montgomeryc
  1. a Dep. of Soil Science, North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND 58105-5638
    b USDA-CSREES-NRE, Washington, DC 20250-2210
    c Agronomy and Plant Protection Section, MN Dep. of Ag., St. Paul, MN 55107


A method was developed to obtain large undisturbed soil cores and instrument those cores to collect vadose zone leachate data under agricultural field conditions. Twenty undisturbed soil core lysimeters were constructed at an irrigated-field site in southeastern North Dakota. Construction of the undisturbed lysimeters consisted of utilizing a steel cutting bit to collect large (0.61-m diam. by 1.68-m deep) soil cores in sections of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe, installing a leachate collection system, installing time domain reflectometry (TDR) soil moisture probes, and then finally placing them below grade so normal farming practices could continue. The described method of core collection is an improvement over other methods in that the cutting bit is reusable, the resulting core is larger and deeper than other methods, no heavy static weights are required, and it is not necessary to expose a free-standing soil column. Leachate quality and quantity data is reported for 1990 through 1995 and compared favorably with larger, reconstructed profile lysimeters on the same site. Overall, the lysimeters functioned as intended for the first 6 yr of operation; however, two developed leaks and rodents damaged another. Possible sidewall flow was observed and may be avoidable in future designs.

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Copyright © 2002. Soil Science SocietyPublished in Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J.66:1446–1453.