Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 4, 1999
Publication Date: November 4, 1999
Citation: Kung, K.S., Gish, T.J., Jaynes, D.B., Helling, C.S. 1999. From narrow trail to five-lane highway [CD-ROM]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. Madison, Wisconsin.
Soil's capacity to quickly adsorb and slowly release water dictates the plant growth and hence the existence of all life in terrestrial ecosystems. This capacity hinges primarily on the soil pores that have a spectrum of sizes. These pores in field soils often have certain particular spatial configuration/combination, which can trigger special water flow patterns. Field results demonstrated that four types of flow patterns occurred in unsaturated soils (uniform Dracy flow, macropore flow, finger flow, and funnel flow). The latter three types of flow were lumped and called preferential flow, which can greatly accelerate contaminant transport in unsaturated soils and cause the degradation of water quality. In order to design field experiments to best manage soils and agrichemicals, it is critical to comprehend the unique mechanism causing each type of preferential flow. Because the physics of the four flow patterns is the same (gravitational potential governs the flow in the bigger pores and matric potential in the smaller pores), the four flows have similarity and can be conceptualized with a unified model based on the traffic patterns observed in metropolitan areas.