Applicability of geophysical prospecting methods for mapping of soil compaction and variability of soil texture on farm land.

Petersen, H., Fleige, H., Rabbel, W. and Horn, R. (2005) Applicability of geophysical prospecting methods for mapping of soil compaction and variability of soil texture on farm land. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science-Zeitschrift Fur Pflanzenernahrung Und Bodenkunde, 168 (1). pp. 68-79. DOI 10.1002/jpin.2004.21282.

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The increasing degree of mechanization in agriculture has resulted in the use of more powerful and heavier tractors and machines. Consequently, mechanical burden to soils has increased, too, which can lead to persistent subsoil compaction at depths below 30cm. In soils damaged by compaction soil functions like transportation of water and air decrease. Because of that, conditions for plant growth are getting worse and the soils' natural regulation functions could be impaired. In order to take counteractive measures, it is necessary to get information about the status of soil compaction. Up to now, the status of soil compaction can only be determined at single points in laboratory measurements or with less accuracy in field measurements. Therefore, the demand for an efficient planar-mapping system arises. The applicability of different geophysical prospecting methods with regard to this problem has been examined. For this purpose, geophysical and soil measurements were performed in a field with conventional agricultural land use in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) on a young moraine site. We applied GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) with main frequencies 500 MHz and 900 MHz, supplemented by inductive electromagnetic technique (EM) using the Ground Conductivity Meter EM38 and high-resolution refraction seismic using compressional and shear waves. Differences in soil type were found by all these geophysical methods and confirmed by soil measurements, therefore, locations with higher risk for compaction (loamy soils) could be distinguished from locations with lower risk (sandy soils). Under humid conditions, radar data showed strong reflections at a depth of approx. 30cm. During summer, under dry conditions, these reflections did not occur. This temporal variation of radar reflections can be explained by variable water layers inside the soil, which can be regarded as an indicator for compacted soil. The seismic investigation was performed along short (12 m) profiles with dense (20cm) sensor spacing. Excellent data quality showed that this sort of measurement, known from engineering geophysics, is also feasible for soil investigations. We performed both compressional- (P-) and shear- (SH-) wave refraction studies. Differences in soil type of subsoil affected especially seismic velocities of P-waves. Whether or not areas of compacted soil can be detected is still unknown, because deeper soil horizons of our test area showed only uniformly strong compaction with little contrasts.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: soil compaction geophysics radar seismic plough pan water
Research affiliation: Kiel University
DOI etc.: 10.1002/jpin.2004.21282
ISSN: 1436-8730
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2012 05:12
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 23:27

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