Soil Electrical Resistivity Tomography (ERT) was measured across the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory in relation to land use cover. ERT can help identify patterns in soil and saprolite physical attributes and moisture content through multiple meters. ERT data were generated with an AGI Supersting R8 with a 28 probe dipole-dipole array on a 1.5 meter spacing providing information through the upper 9 m. In Nov/Dec 2016 ten soil pits were dug to ~3m depth in agricultural fields, pine forests, and hardwood forests across the CCZO and ERT measures were taken centered on these pits. ERT values ranged from 200 to 2500 Ohm-m. ERT patterns in the agricultural field demonstrated a limited resistivity gradient (200-700 Ohm-m) appearing moist throughout. In contrast, research areas under pine and hardwood forest had stronger resistivity gradients reflecting both moisture and physical attributes (i.e., texture or rock content). For example, research area 2 under pine had an area of higher resistivity that correlated with a band of saprolite that was readily visible in the exposed profile. In research area 7 and 8 that included both pine and hardwood forest resistivity gradients had contradictory patterns of high to low resistivity from top to bottom. In research area 7 resistivity was highest at the surface and decreased with depth, a common pattern when water table is at depth. In research area 8 the inverse was observed with low resistivity above and resistivity increasing with depth, a pattern observed in upper landscape positions on ridges with moist clay above dry saprolite. ERT patterns did reflect a large difference in the measured agricultural fields compared to forest while other difference appeared to reflect landscape position.
Markewitz, Daniel, Lori Sutter, Daniel deB. Richter (2017): Patterns in soil electrical resistivity across land uses in the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory landscape. American Geophysical Union 2017 Fall Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-15 December 2017.
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.