Investigation into the Hydrologic Separation of Bound and Mobile Water in Forest SoilUsing Isotopic Analysis Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/honors_college_theses/f1881n78f

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  • How water moves through soils is of importance to studies of stream hydrology and biogeochemistry. Although translatory flow, which states how soil water is displaced by additional precipitation into streams, is a widely accepted model, Brooks et al. (2010) found evidence that challenged this model. They suggested that there are two “water worlds” in forest soils in Mediterranean climates that rarely interact: tightly bound water in very small pores that comes from initial rain after a dry summer, and more mobile water in larger pores that moves freely and is displaced by precipitation into streams. This project tests this hypothesis by using a centrifuge paired with a ceramic rod to separate soil water samples into mobile and immobile portions for isotopic analysis to detect differences. Soil cores were taken at six points throughout the year at five depths. Results indicate a critical error during storage causing significant evaporation of the data making comparison of the water pools ineffective. However, the temporal and depth trends are consistent with Brooks’ et al. (2010) conclusions. Characterization of the separation method shows the importance of choosing rods with air-entry values higher than the desired extraction pressure. This project recommends study repetition with improved methods.
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