Velocities, Residence Times, Tracer Breakthroughs in a Vegetated Lysimeter: A Multitracer Experiment

Flow velocities, residence times, and tracer breakthroughs at the lysimeter scale are affected by matrix properties and preferential flow. Despite their relevance to transport processes, however, the relative timing of preferential flow, and its link to transit times through the soil block, is still poorly described. Here we present and analyze tracer data from a 2.5m(3) vegetated lysimeter experiment where 18mm of isotopically labeled water was added as a pulse and then followed with a series of tracer-free controlled rainfall events for 5months. A solution of two fluorobenzoid acid tracers was also injected and tracked. Time series of soil water samples at three different depths and bottom drainage samples were collected and analyzed. Unlike past lysimeter experiments, a willow tree grown within the lysimeter exerted strong evapotranspiration fluxes. By comparative analysis of soil water and bottom drainage samples, we show the presence of both translatory and preferential flow features reflecting the interplay of slow vertical percolation and fast recharge through macropores. We found that water ponding and evaporating from the top of the lysimeter after irrigation prompted samples to be highly and irregularly fractionated. Comparative analyses of multitracer breakthroughs (adjusted by removing fractionation effects) showed that fluorobenzoid acid tracers reached the bottom of the lysimeter earlier than the isotopes, likely due to the effect of plant uptake. Our results underscore the essential role of models to interpret tracer behavior and, critically, the importance of future experiments aimed at measuring the ages of the water abstracted by vegetation.


Published in:
Water Resources Research, 55, 1, 21-33
Year:
Jan 01 2019
Publisher:
Washington, AMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
ISSN:
0043-1397
1944-7973
Keywords:




 Record created 2019-06-18, last modified 2019-06-25


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