Effect of the Initial Soil Moisture Content on the Spatial Distribution of the Water Retention

Merdun H., Meral R., Demirkiran A. R.

EURASIAN SOIL SCIENCE, vol.41, no.10, pp.1098-1106, 2008 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1134/s1064229308100128
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1098-1106
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: No


The initial soil moisture content affects the water flow and solute transport through the vadose zone, but researchers are in disagreement about the extent and nature of its effects. Better understanding of the initial moisture effect on the water movement will help to prevent groundwater contamination and increase crop production by improving the efficiency of water use in irrigation practice. Therefore, in this study, the effect of the initial moisture content on the spatial distribution of the water retention was investigated in the field. A total of 4 cm of water was applied to duplicate plots with each of three initial moisture conditions within 2 h using a rainfall simulator. Following the application and a 2-h redistribution period, 100 soil samples were taken from different depths of each plot using a grid sampling system to be analyzed for their gravimetric water content in the laboratory. Statistical and geostatistical analyses were performed to analyze the spatial structure of the collected data. The results showed that the preferential flow was more evident in the case of the dry initial soil water content than for the two wetter initial conditions. Both the classical and geostatistical analyses supported that the overall water retention was uniformly distributed throughout the profile except at 20-30 cm, where the coefficient of variation and the percent nugget to total semivariance ratio were high, indicating some degree of preferential flow through large pores (macropores). These results suggest that similar studies should be conducted on different field soils under more different initial moisture conditions so that the effect of the macropores on the water flow and chemical transport can be better understood.