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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Soil Freezing and Thawing Across a Prairie Pothole

Authors
item Sharratt, Brenton
item Staricka, James - NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIV
item Benoit, George - RETIRED USDA ARS

Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 2, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Surface and ground water quality in the Northern Plains of the United States are impacted by prairie pothole landscape features of the region. The lateral movement of soil water and solutes toward topographical pothole depressions is often accentuated in the spring when the occurrence of frozen soil restricts vertical water transport. Yet, spatial and temporal variations in soil freezing and thawing are not well characterized for prairie potholes. Frost and snow depth were monitored across an approximate 5-ha field depression in 1990. Frost tubes and snow stakes were spaced at 15-m intervals across the major and minor axis of the elliptical depression. Maximum frost depth was not as great and the soil profile thawed earlier in the spring at the bottom of the depression compared to other positions within the depression. Aspect within the depressional landscape did not appear to influence snow cover nor depth of freezing or thawing. The spatial variability in frost depth across prairie potholes will influence the timing and occurrence of ground water recharge.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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