In-situ characterization of soil-water content using gas-phase partitioning tracer tests: Field-scale evaluation

Jason M. Keller, Mark L Brusseau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Field-scale tests were performed to evaluate the effectiveness of the gas-phase partitioning tracer method for in-situ measurement of soil-water content. The tracer tests were conducted before and after a controlled infiltration event to evaluate performance at two water contents. Nonpartitioning (sulfur hexafluoride) and water-partitioning (difluoromethane) tracers were iniected into the test zone, and their effluent breakthrough curves were analyzed using the method of moments to calculate retardation factors for difluoromethane. Soil-water contents estimated using the tracer data were compared to soil-water contents obtained independently using gravimetric core analysis, neutron scattering, and bore-hole ground penetrating radar. For the test conducted under drier soil conditions, the soil-water content estimated from the tracer test was identical to the independently measured values of 8.6% (equivalent to water saturation of 23%). For the test conducted under wetter soil conditions, the tracer test derived soil-water content was 81% of the independently measured values of 12.2% (equivalent to water saturation of 32%). The reduced efficacy at the higher soil-water content may reflect the impact of advective and/or diffusive mass transfer constraints on gas-phase transport. The results presented herein indicate that the partitioning tracer method is an effective technique to measure soil-water content at the field scale, especially for sites with moderate to low soil-water contents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3141-3144
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume37
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 15 2003

Fingerprint

Water content
partitioning
Gases
soil water
tracer
water content
Soils
gas
Water
saturation
neutron scattering
Sulfur Hexafluoride
test
evaluation
in situ
core analysis
Sulfur hexafluoride
Core analysis
breakthrough curve
ground penetrating radar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this

In-situ characterization of soil-water content using gas-phase partitioning tracer tests : Field-scale evaluation. / Keller, Jason M.; Brusseau, Mark L.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 37, No. 14, 15.07.2003, p. 3141-3144.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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