Thermometry as a tool for determining the hydrologic properties of the vadose zone
AuthorErikson, Susan J.
AdvisorCampana, Michael E.
Geological Sciences & Engineering
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An attempt was made to determine the hydrologic properties of the soil zone in stlu and whether recharge events could be delineated utilizing subsurface soil temperatures. Temperatures recorded at an experimental site and from a large areal survey in Dixie Valley. Nevada were used. During periods of dry weather, the thermal properties and the volumetric water content were determined. Thermal diffusivities ranged from 2.7_to 4.0 x_10~_cm‘sec”'; thermal conductivities ranged from 1.2 to 1.7 X 10 cal cm sec ”C ‘. Volumetric water contents decreased from 0.30 to 0.25 over fifty days indicating gradual drying of the soil. Percolation of rainfall was discernible in subsurface temperature curves in both the soil column and fluid-filled PVC pipes: not only were maxima decreased, but also minima increased. During and immediately ^after precipitation events, thermal diffusivities increased to 4.5 x 10~^ cm'sec” while thermal conductivities decreased to less than 7.0 x 10~‘cal cm sec ° C . Volumetric water contents could not be determined due to the presence of swelling clays. Darcian velocity was estimated from the delay in suppression of the diurnal temperature wave at successive depths and was found to be as high as 2.8 x 10 cm sec”’.
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