skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and transport thresholds revealed by a multitracer hillslope irrigation experiment

Abstract

Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and lateral flow are poorly understood. We applied 407 mm of water and a suite of tracers over 51 h to a 12 by 16.5 m forested hillslope segment to determine interflow thresholds, preferential pathway pore velocities, large-scale conductivities, the time series of event water fractions, and the fate of dissolved nutrients. The 12% hillslope featured loamy sand A and E horizons overlying a sandy clay loam Bt at 1.25 m average depth. Interflow measured from two drains within an interception trench commenced after 131 and 208 mm of irrigation. Cumulative interflow equaled 49% of applied water. Conservative tracer differences between the collection drains indicated differences in flow paths and storages within the plot. Event water fractions rose steadily throughout irrigation, peaking at 50% sixteen h after irrigation ceased. Data implied that tightly held water exchanged with event water throughout the experiment and a substantial portion of preevent water was released from the argillic layer. Surface-applied dye tracers bypassed the matrix, with peak concentrations measured shortly after flow commencement, indicating preferential network conductivities of 864–2240 mm/h, yet no macropore flow was observed. Near steady-state flow conditions indicated average conductivities of 460 mm/h andmore » 2.5 mm/h for topsoils and the Bt horizon, respectively. Low ammonium and phosphorus concentrations in the interflow suggested rapid uptake or sorption, while higher nitrate concentrations suggested more conservative transport. Lastly, these results reveal how hydraulic conductivity variation and subsurface topographic complexity explain otherwise paradoxical solute and flow behaviors.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [1];  [4]
  1. Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA (United States)
  2. Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg)
  3. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Univ. of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon SK (Canada); Univ. of Aberdeen, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1328323
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 52; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY

Citation Formats

Jackson, C. Rhett, Du, Enhao, Klaus, Julian, Griffiths, Natalie A., Bitew, Menberu, and McDonnell, Jeffrey J. Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and transport thresholds revealed by a multitracer hillslope irrigation experiment. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1002/2015WR018364.
Jackson, C. Rhett, Du, Enhao, Klaus, Julian, Griffiths, Natalie A., Bitew, Menberu, & McDonnell, Jeffrey J. Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and transport thresholds revealed by a multitracer hillslope irrigation experiment. United States. doi:10.1002/2015WR018364.
Jackson, C. Rhett, Du, Enhao, Klaus, Julian, Griffiths, Natalie A., Bitew, Menberu, and McDonnell, Jeffrey J. Fri . "Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and transport thresholds revealed by a multitracer hillslope irrigation experiment". United States. doi:10.1002/2015WR018364. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1328323.
@article{osti_1328323,
title = {Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and transport thresholds revealed by a multitracer hillslope irrigation experiment},
author = {Jackson, C. Rhett and Du, Enhao and Klaus, Julian and Griffiths, Natalie A. and Bitew, Menberu and McDonnell, Jeffrey J.},
abstractNote = {Interactions among hydraulic conductivity distributions, subsurface topography, and lateral flow are poorly understood. We applied 407 mm of water and a suite of tracers over 51 h to a 12 by 16.5 m forested hillslope segment to determine interflow thresholds, preferential pathway pore velocities, large-scale conductivities, the time series of event water fractions, and the fate of dissolved nutrients. The 12% hillslope featured loamy sand A and E horizons overlying a sandy clay loam Bt at 1.25 m average depth. Interflow measured from two drains within an interception trench commenced after 131 and 208 mm of irrigation. Cumulative interflow equaled 49% of applied water. Conservative tracer differences between the collection drains indicated differences in flow paths and storages within the plot. Event water fractions rose steadily throughout irrigation, peaking at 50% sixteen h after irrigation ceased. Data implied that tightly held water exchanged with event water throughout the experiment and a substantial portion of preevent water was released from the argillic layer. Surface-applied dye tracers bypassed the matrix, with peak concentrations measured shortly after flow commencement, indicating preferential network conductivities of 864–2240 mm/h, yet no macropore flow was observed. Near steady-state flow conditions indicated average conductivities of 460 mm/h and 2.5 mm/h for topsoils and the Bt horizon, respectively. Low ammonium and phosphorus concentrations in the interflow suggested rapid uptake or sorption, while higher nitrate concentrations suggested more conservative transport. Lastly, these results reveal how hydraulic conductivity variation and subsurface topographic complexity explain otherwise paradoxical solute and flow behaviors.},
doi = {10.1002/2015WR018364},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = 8,
volume = 52,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {8}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 2 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Streamflow generation in a forested watershed, New Zealand
journal, August 1979


A review of the evolving perceptual model of hillslope flowpaths at the Maimai catchments, New Zealand
journal, February 2002


Hydrological connectivity of hillslopes and streams: Characteristic time scales and nonlinearities
journal, October 2010

  • McGuire, Kevin J.; McDonnell, Jeffrey J.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 46, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010WR009341

Hydrograph separation using stable isotopes: Review and evaluation
journal, November 2013


Climatic Control of Nitrate Loss from Forested Watersheds in the Northeast United States
journal, January 1996

  • Mitchell, Myron J.; Driscoll, Charles T.; Kahl, Jeffrey S.
  • Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 30, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1021/es9600237

A Rationale for Old Water Discharge Through Macropores in a Steep, Humid Catchment
journal, November 1990


Estimating the deep seepage component of the hillslope and catchment water balance within a measurement uncertainty framework
journal, November 2010

  • Graham, Chris B.; van Verseveld, Willem; Barnard, Holly R.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 24, Issue 25
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7788

Macropore flow of old water revisited: experimental insights from a tile-drained hillslope
journal, January 2013


Nutrient Loss Accelerated by Clear-Cutting of a Forest Ecosystem
journal, February 1968


Evidence for biotic controls on topography and soil production
journal, September 2010

  • Roering, Joshua J.; Marshall, Jill; Booth, Adam M.
  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 298, Issue 1-2
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.07.040

Effect of bedrock permeability on subsurface stormflow and the water balance of a trenched hillslope at the Panola Mountain Research Watershed, Georgia, USA
journal, January 2007

  • Tromp-van Meerveld, H. J.; Peters, N. E.; McDonnell, J. J.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 21, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.6265

Comparison of threshold hydrologic response across northern catchments: THRESHOLD HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE ACROSS NORTHERN CATCHMENTS
journal, June 2015

  • Ali, Genevieve; Tetzlaff, Doerthe; McDonnell, Jeffrey J.
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 29, Issue 16
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10527

Physically based hydrologic modeling: 2. Is the concept realistic?
journal, October 1992

  • Grayson, Rodger B.; Moore, Ian D.; McMahon, Thomas A.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 28, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1029/92WR01259

Integrating tracer experiments with modeling to assess runoff processes and water transit times
journal, April 2007


The influence of tree roots on soil morphology
journal, June 1939


Storm Runoff Generation in Humid Headwater Catchments: 1. Where Does the Water Come From?
journal, August 1986

  • Pearce, A. J.; Stewart, M. K.; Sklash, M. G.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 22, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1029/WR022i008p01263

Moisture and energy conditions within a sloping soil mass during drainage
journal, February 1963

  • Hewlett, John D.; Hibbert, Alden R.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 68, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1029/JZ068i004p01081

A Bacterial Method for the Nitrogen Isotopic Analysis of Nitrate in Seawater and Freshwater
journal, September 2001

  • Sigman, D. M.; Casciotti, K. L.; Andreani, M.
  • Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 73, Issue 17
  • DOI: 10.1021/ac010088e

A physically based model of heterogeneous hillslopes: 2. Effective hydraulic conductivities
journal, June 1989


A hillslope-scale experiment to measure lateral saturated hydraulic conductivity: A HILLSLOPE-SCALE EXPERIMENT FOR LATERAL
journal, April 2004

  • Brooks, Erin S.; Boll, Jan; McDaniel, Paul A.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 40, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2003WR002858

Nitrogen Pollution in the Northeastern United States: Sources, Effects, and Management Options
journal, January 2003


Predictive modeling of flow and transport in a two-dimensional intermediate-scale, heterogeneous porous medium
journal, October 2001

  • Barth, Gilbert R.; Hill, Mary C.; Illangasekare, Tissa H.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 37, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1029/2001WR000242

Dual isotope analyses indicate efficient processing of atmospheric nitrate by forested watersheds in the northeastern U.S.
journal, August 2008

  • Barnes, Rebecca T.; Raymond, Peter A.; Casciotti, Karen L.
  • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 90, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10533-008-9227-2

When interflow also percolates: downslope travel distances and hillslope process zones: INVITED COMMENTARY
journal, February 2014

  • Jackson, C. Rhett; Bitew, Menberu; Du, Enhao
  • Hydrological Processes, Vol. 28, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10158

Where does streamwater come from in low-relief forested watersheds? A dual-isotope approach
journal, January 2015

  • Klaus, J.; McDonnell, J. J.; Jackson, C. R.
  • Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 19, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.5194/hess-19-125-2015

Storm Runoff Generation in Humid Headwater Catchments: 2. A Case Study of Hillslope and Low-Order Stream Response
journal, August 1986

  • Sklash, M. G.; Stewart, M. K.; Pearce, A. J.
  • Water Resources Research, Vol. 22, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1029/WR022i008p01273

Atmospheric Deposition and Canopy Interactions of Major Ions in a Forest
journal, January 1986


The role of lateral pipe flow in hillslope runoff response: an intercomparison of non-linear hillslope response
journal, September 2005


Measurement of the Oxygen Isotopic Composition of Nitrate in Seawater and Freshwater Using the Denitrifier Method
journal, October 2002

  • Casciotti, K. L.; Sigman, D. M.; Hastings, M. Galanter
  • Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 74, Issue 19
  • DOI: 10.1021/ac020113w