WATER PARTITIONING WITHIN THE UNSATURATED ZONE AFTER MULTIPLE NATURAL PRECIPITATION EVENTS DETECTED BY GPR
The time-dependent partitioning of SWC between the nominally 1 m thick topmost organically-rich soil layer and an underlying nominally 3 m thick organically-poor gravelly sand is described in relation to five precipitation events. These events range in total rainfall amount from 1.6 cm to 7.9 cm. The SWC increased, as expected, for each rain event in the soil layer. Regardless of differences in the total rainfall amount, the SWC of the soil layer increased to 26%. Thus, we conclude that the field retentivity of the soil layer is reached for all storms, and that any excess water infiltrates deeper into the gravelly sand. This is confirmed for 4 events by the ground refraction from the top of the gravelly sand layer. In addition, the SWC of entire gravelly sand layer is observed to increase in response to only 3 storms. We find that the lack of response in the deeper layer is due to the antecedent SWC of the topmost layer and the elapsed time between rainfall and GPR data collection.
GPR proved to be invaluable for this research because it is a completely non-invasive technique that samples over a larger volume than traditional SWC techniques. Furthermore, we show that the time-dependant vertical redistribution of SWC after precipitation events make it possible to observe changes in subsurface layering due to hydrologic properties of the geologic material.