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Imaging the Lateral Migration of Subsurface Moisture using Electromagnetic Induction

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  023070,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.10450) @2002
Authors:   Robert C. Wilson, Robert S. Freeland, John B. Wilkerson, Ronald E. Yoder
Keywords:   Dynamic imaging, Non-invasive measurement, Preferential flow, Soil mapping, Soil properties

Identifying the subsurface paths by which water moves within the vadose zone is difficult. Limited scientific data are available that detail agrochemical migration for the innumerable combinations of soil and hydrological factors, and for the wide array of agricultural production practices. We are using electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensing in a unique timeelapsed imaging format to target high-, moderate-, and low-risk moisture movement patterns. Our research on loess-over-alluvium soils demonstrates that subsurface water movement is highly variable and site-specific. Often a small soil volume conducts a large water flow volume. Site-specific soil structural features usually cause this concentrated flow. Water moves rapidly offsite from certain areas of fields, while little or no lateral subsurface flow occurs in other areas. We are targeting those field areas that have high potential for offsite movement of agrochemicals using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS) technologies. This paper gives an overview of our dynamic imaging process for temporal and spatial mapping of soil conductivity for visualizing near-surface water movement.

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