Measuring and Mapping Patterns of Soil Erosion and Deposition Related to Soil Carbonate Concentrations Under Agricultural Management

Erskine, R.H.; Sherrod, L.A.; Green, T.R.

Journal of Visualized Experiments: Jove 2017(127)


ISSN/ISBN: 1940-087X
PMID: 28930999
DOI: 10.3791/56064
Accession: 059950133

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Spatial patterns of soil erosion and deposition can be inferred from differences in ground elevation mapped at appropriate time increments. Such changes in elevation are related to changes in near-surface soil carbonate (CaCO3) profiles. The objective is to describe a simple conceptual model and detailed protocol for repeatable field and laboratory measurements of these quantities. Here, accurate elevation is measured using a ground-based differential global positioning system (GPS); other data acquisition methods could be applied to the same basic method. Soil samples are collected from prescribed depth intervals and analyzed in the lab using an efficient and precise modified pressure-calcimeter method for quantitative analysis of inorganic carbon concentration. Standard statistical methods are applied to point data, and representative results show significant correlations between changes in soil surface layer CaCO3 and changes in elevation consistent with the conceptual model; CaCO3 generally decreased in depositional areas and increased in erosional areas. Maps are derived from point measurements of elevation and soil CaCO3 to aid analyses. A map of erosional and depositional patterns at the study site, a rain-fed winter wheat field cropped in alternating wheat-fallow strips, shows the interacting effects of water and wind erosion affected by management and topography. Alternative sampling methods and depth intervals are discussed and recommended for future work relating soil erosion and deposition to soil CaCO3.