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Over Winter Stability of Macropores in the Northern US Corn Belt

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

Citation:  Pp. 221-224 in Preferential Flow, Water Movement and Chemical Transport in the Environment, Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. (3-5 January 2001, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), eds. D. D. Bosch and K. W. King. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASAE  701P0006.(doi:10.13031/2013.2115)
Authors:   Gordon C. McIntosh and Brenton S. Sharratt
Keywords:   Soil macropores, Soil freezing, Thawing

Macropores created by biological or physical processes can profoundly influence water movement through the soil. In cold regions, macropores are subject to wetting/drying and freezing/thawing. Little is known concerning the over winter stability of macropores. This study investigated changes in the physical dimensions of macropores from autumn to spring in the northern US Corn Belt. Macropores 30 cm deep having diameters of 5, 10, and 15 mm were created in a Barnes loam soil. Approximately 50% and 15% of the 5 and 10 mm pores, respectively, had filled in at the surface between creation and freeze-up in the fall. After snowmelt in the spring, all 5 and 10 mm pores and more than 95% of the 15 mm pores were filled with soil at the surface. This study suggests that macropores are not stable during winter. These changes will likely impact water movement through soil.

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