A chloride tracer was applied to the surface of a vegetable field and then leached downward by rainfall and irrigation. Tracer concentrations in a vertical two‐dimensional region down to a depth of 2.4 m were monitored with suction cups that, were installed horizontally from a tunnel. The uniformly applied tracer pulse split into a slowly moving main pulse and a series of fast pulses. The first of the fast pulses reached a depth of 2.2 m after an infiltration of just 31 mm of natural rainfall, whereas the peak of the main pulse was still at a depth of 0.84 m by the end of the experiment after an infiltration of 0.853 m. The movement of the main pulse can be described by a convection‐dispersion process in a homogeneous medium, provided that time is replaced by cumulative infiltration. However, the values of the parameters that produce a maximum agreement between the model and the observed main pulse have no physical basis, and consequently prediction of solute movement, based on measurements of soil properties, is not possible.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 1991
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