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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 68 No. 4, p. 1169-1176
    Received: July 21, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): Louis-Marie.Bresson@grignon.inra.fr
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Use of Bulk Density Profiles from X-Radiography to Examine Structural Crust Models

  1. L. M. Bresson *a,
  2. C. J. Moranb and
  3. S. Assoulinec
  1. a UMR Environnement et Grandes Cultures, INA P-G/INRA, 78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France
    b CSIRO Land and Water, Pye Laboratory, GPO Box 1666, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
    c The Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Volcani Center, A.R.O., P.O.B. 6, Bet-Dagan 50250, Israel


Exponential and sigmoidal functions have been suggested to describe the bulk density profiles of crusts. The present work aims to evaluate these conceptual models using high resolution X-radiography. Repacked seedbeds from two soil materials, air-dried or prewetted by capillary rise, were subjected to simulated rain, which resulted in three types of structural crusts, namely, slaking, infilling, and coalescing. Bulk density distributions with depth were generated using high-resolution (70 μm), calibrated X-ray images of slices from the resin-impregnated crusted seedbeds. The bulk density decreased progressively with depth, which supports the suggestion that a crust should be considered as a nonuniform layer. For the slaking and the coalescing crusts, the exponential function underestimated the strong change in bulk density across the morphologically defined transition between the crust and the underlying material; the sigmoidal function provided a better description. Neither of these crust models effectively described the shape of the bulk density profiles through the whole seedbed. Below the infilling and slaking crusts, bulk density increased linearly with depth as a result of slumping. In the coalescing crusted seedbed, the whole seedbed uniformly collapsed and most of the bulk density change within the crust could be ascribed to slumping (0.33 g cm−3) rather than to crusting (0.12 g cm−3). Finally, (i) X-radiography appears as a unique tool to generate high resolution bulk density profiles and (ii) in structural crusts, bulk density profiles could be modeled using the existing exponential and sigmoidal crusting models, provided a slumping model would be coupled.

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Copyright © 2004. Soil Science SocietySoil Science Society of America