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Geostatistical characterization of soil moisture and chloride distribution in deep vadose profiles of the Badain Jaran Desert, Northwestern China

Geostatistical characterization of soil moisture and chloride distribution in deep vadose profiles of the Badain Jaran Desert, Northwestern China

Environmental Earth Sciences 70(3): 977-991

ISSN/ISBN: 1866-6280

DOI: 10.1007/s12665-012-2188-8

Geostatistical analysis of soil moisture and ion accumulation can provide a deep understanding of aspects of a region's hydrology such as recharge rates and flow paths. By combining this approach with detrended canonical correspondence analysis, the present study investigated the vertical and spatial variation of soil moisture and chloride (Cl-) in vadose profiles of megadunes near lakes in the southeastern Badain Jaran Desert, northwestern China. Soil moisture varied vertically within the dune profiles following exponential, logarithmic, or log-normal distributions at different sites as a result of regulation by different local controls. The main local controls for Cl- concentration were slope and orientation of the dune. Cl- was not affected by local controls at depths > 5 m. Sills of spatial variation in soil moisture and Cl- in the variogram analysis were highly sensitive to local controls in the top 4 m of the profiles, and the values were three times those at depths > 4 m. The lag for soil moisture was insensitive to local controls, and was 50-60 m in the top 4 m of the profiles and 20 m in deeper layers, whereas the lag for Cl- was about 20 m at all depths. The results demonstrate that understanding recharge rates using factors such as Cl- accumulation requires a careful survey to ensure that the local controls that regulate these factors are adequately accounted for.

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Accession: 070702470

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