Microstructural strength of tidal soils – a rheometric approach to develop pedotransfer functions

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Differences in soil stability, especially in visually comparable soils can occur due to microstructural processes and interactions. By investigating these microstructural processes with rheological investigations, it is possible to achieve a better understanding of soil behaviour from the mesoscale (soil aggregates) to macroscale (bulk soil). In this paper, a rheological investigation of the factors influencing microstructural stability of riparian soils was conducted. Homogenized samples of Marshland soils from the riparian zone of the Elbe River (North Germany) were analyzed with amplitude sweeps (AS) under controlled shear deformation in a modular compact rheometer MCR 300 (Anton Paar, Germany) at different matric potentials. A range physicochemical parameters were determined (texture, pH, organic matter, CaCO3 etc.) and these factors were used to parameterize pedotransfer functions. The results indicate a clear dependence of microstructural elasticity on texture and water content. Although the influence of individual physicochemical factors varies depending on texture, the relevant features were identified taking combined effects into account. Thus, stabilizing factors are: organic matter, calcium ions, CaCO3 and pedogenic iron oxides; whereas sodium ions and water content represent structurally unfavorable factors. Based on the determined statistical relationships between rheological and physicochemical parameters, pedotransfer functions (PTF) have been developed.

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