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Hydrologic response of undisturbed soil cores to simulated rainfall

Smettem, K.R.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2650-4429, Kirkby, C. and Chittleborough, D.J. (1994) Hydrologic response of undisturbed soil cores to simulated rainfall. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 32 (6). pp. 1175-1187.

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Experiments to characterize runoff and drainage from large undisturbed soil cores obtained from a site under volunteer pasture are presented. The objectives were to evaluate if a simple kinematic wave model could be used to characterize drainage under conditions of by-passing flow and to investigate the variability of runoff generation under wet and dry antecedent conditions in this well structured soil. Cores were taken to depths of 0.4 and 0.7 m, with six cores obtained from each depth. Results show that variations in soil structure between cores have a greater influence on the hydrologic response than variations in antecedent water content. It may be inferred that, in this soil, good structural continuity substantially enhances soil drainage and, in consequence, decreases surface runoff. During wetting, kinematic celerities ranged from 337 to 3200 mm h-1 in the short cores and from 357 to 1400 mm h-1 in the long cores. The corresponding estimated ranges of mobile or 'macropore' fractions were from 0.015 to 0.154 m3 m-3 in the short cores and 0.033 to 0.132 m3m-3 in the long cores. Both parameters were approximately log-normally distributed. Measured drainage hydrographs were reasonably well described by the kinematic model but the physical significance of the model parameters was unclear.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 1994
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