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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 70 No. 2, p. 521-532
    Received: Jan 20, 2005

    * Corresponding author(s): rafael.angulo@hmg.inpg.fr
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Beerkan Estimation of Soil Transfer Parameters through Infiltration Experiments—BEST

  1. L. Lassabatèrea,
  2. R. Angulo-Jaramillo *b,
  3. J. M. Soria Ugaldeb,
  4. R. Cuencac,
  5. I. Braudb and
  6. R. Haverkampb
  1. a Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Environnement, Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'Etat, Rue Maurice Audin, 69518 Vaulx-en-Velin (France); L. Lassabatère currently at: Division for Water and Environment, LCPC Nantes, Route de Bouaye, BP 4129, 44341 Bouguenais cedex, France
    b Laboratoire d'Etude des Transferts en Hydrologie et Environnement, LTHE (UMR 5564, CNRS, INPG, IRD, UJF), BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9 (France)
    c Bioengineering Dep., Oregon State Univ., 116 Gilmore Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331-3906, USA, I. Braud currently at: CEMAGREF, UR Hydrologie-Hydraulique, 3bis Quai Chauveau, 69336 Lyon Cédex 9 (France)


Studying soil hydrological processes requires the determination of soil hydraulic parameters whose assessment using traditional methods is expensive and time-consuming. A specific method, Beerkan estimation of soil transfer parameters referred to as BEST was developed to facilitate the determination of both the water retention curve, θ(h), and the hydraulic conductivity curve, K(θ), defined by their shape and scale parameters. BEST estimates shape parameters from particle-size distribution analysis and scale parameters from infiltration experiments at null pressure head. Saturated water content is measured directly at the end of infiltration. Hydraulic conductivity and water pressure scale parameters are calculated from the steady-state infiltration rate and prior estimation of sorptivity (S) This is provided by fitting transient infiltration data on the classical two-term equations with values from zero to a maximum corresponding to null hydraulic conductivity and using a data subset for which the two-term infiltration equations are verified as valid. BEST was compared with other fitting methods to estimate sorptivity and hydraulic conductivity from infiltration modeling data on the basis of the same infiltration equations for three contrasting soils: agricultural soil, sandy soil, and a coarser fluvioglacial deposit. The other methods failed sometimes to model accurately experimental data and to provide values in agreement with physical principles of water infiltration (negative values for hydraulic conductivity, too high steady-state infiltration rate). None of these anomalies was encountered when modeling cumulative infiltration with BEST. BEST appears to be a promising, easy, robust, and inexpensive way of characterizing the hydraulic behavior of soil.

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