Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 628–637 | Cite as

Solute transport characteristics of a deep soil profile in the Loess Plateau, China

  • Jiao Wang
  • Ming’an ShaoEmail author


Understanding solute transport behaviors of deep soil profile in the Loess Plateau is helpful for ecological construction and agricultural production improvement. In this study, solute transport processes of a deep soil profile were measured by a conservative tracer experiment using 25 undisturbed soil cores (20 cm long and 7 cm diameter for each) continuously sampled from the surface downward to the depth of 500 cm in the Loess Plateau of China. The solute transport breakthrough curves (BTCs) were analyzed in terms of the convection-dispersion equation (CDE) and the mobile-immobile model (MIM). Average pore-water velocity and dispersion coefficient (or effective dispersion coefficient) were calculated using the CDE and MIM. Basic soil properties and water infiltration parameters were also determined to explore their influence on the solute transport parameters. Both pore-water velocity and dispersion coefficient (or effective dispersion coefficient) generally decreased with increasing depth, and the dispersivity fluctuated along the soil profile. There was a good linear correlation between log-transformed pore-water velocity and dispersion coefficient, with a slope of about 1.0 and an average dispersivity of 0.25 for the entire soil profile. Generally speaking, the soil was more homogeneous along the soil profile. Our results also show that hydrodynamic dispersion is the dominant mechanism of solute transport of loess soils in the study area.


solute transport loess soil pore-water velocity dispersion coefficient hydraulic conductivity Loess Plateau 


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This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571130081, 41530854). We thank the editors and reviewers for their useful comments and suggestions on this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ecosystems Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess PlateauNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina

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