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Automated equilibrium tension lysimeters for measuring water fluxes through a layered, volcanic vadose profile in New Zealand

G. F. Barkle, T. Woehling, R. Stenger, J. Mertens, B. Moorhead, A. Wall and J. Clague
Automated equilibrium tension lysimeters for measuring water fluxes through a layered, volcanic vadose profile in New Zealand
Vadose Zone Journal (May 2011) 10 (2): 747-759

Abstract

In this technical note we present the design, installation, and evaluation of a field monitoring system to directly measure water fluxes through a vadose zone. The system is based on use of relatively new measurement technology--automated equilibrium tension lysimeters (AETLs). An AETL uses a porous sintered stainless-steel plate to provide a comparatively large sampling area (0.20 m (super 2) ) with a continuously controlled vacuum applied under the plate. This vacuum is in "equilibrium" with the surrounding vadose zone tension to ensure measured fluxes represent those under undisturbed conditions. Fifteen of these AETLs have been installed at five depths through a layered volcanic vadose zone to study the impact of land use changes on water quality in Lake Taupo, New Zealand. We describe the development and testing of the AETLs, the methods used for installing these devices, a condensed data set of the measured physical properties of the vadose zone, and the initial results from the in situ operation of the AETLs, including the preliminary results from a bromide tracer test. For an AETL installed at the 0.4-m depth, where soil pressure heads are most dynamic, the average deviation between the target reference pressure head, as measured in the undisturbed vadose zone and the pressure head measured above the sampling plate was only 5.4 hPa over a 180-d period. The bromide recovered in an AETL at the same depth was equivalent to 96% of the bromide pulse applied onto the surface area directly above the AETL. We conclude that this measurement technique provides an accurate and robust method of measuring vadose zone fluxes. These measurements can ultimately contribute to better understanding of the water transport and contaminant transformation processes through vadose zones.


ISSN: 1539-1663
Serial Title: Vadose Zone Journal
Serial Volume: 10
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Automated equilibrium tension lysimeters for measuring water fluxes through a layered, volcanic vadose profile in New Zealand
Affiliation: Aqualinc Researc, Hamilton, New Zealand
Pages: 747-759
Published: 201105
Text Language: English
Publisher: Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, United States
References: 44
Accession Number: 2012-012469
Categories: HydrogeologyApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, sketch map
S39°04'60" - S38°40'00", E175°30'00" - E176°10'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Lincoln Ventures, NZL, New ZealandLABORELEC, BEL, Belgium
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Soil Science Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201207
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