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Soil freezing; Soil moisture


Soil freezing influences the amount and quality of our water resources, yet, little is known concerning the impacts of soil texture and water content before freezing on water migration in frozen soils. Columns of Hamerly clay loam and Sioux loam at 3 initial water contents were subjected to the vagaries of the field environment at Morris, Minnesota during the winter of 1993-1994 and then sectioned to determine changes in soil water content. Redistribution of water in the frozen soil layer became more apparent with an increase in initial water content. Little movement of water occurred at the lowest initial water content of 0.21 g g-1 (45% pore saturation). Soil water redistribution was more pronounced for the. Sioux loam, but only at the highest initial water content of 0.38 g g-1 (8QO;O pore saturation). Upward water movement appeared greatest when the rate of descent of the freezing front was slowest. Initial water content had a larger effect on water movement in frozen soil profiles than soil texture. Therefore, soil water content at the time of freeze-up in the fall will determine, to a large extent, the rate of water (and consequently solute) movement in soil profiles during winter.

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