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Enlightening Research

Electrical Fields and Soil Properties

This publication was presented on 17th World Congress of Soil Science in Bangcock, Tailand. It a short synopsis of our research on application of electrical geophysical methods to study soil genesis and provides theoretical background to all applied case studies. To cite this presentation use:

Pozdnyakov, Anatoly, and Larisa Pozdnyakova. “Electrical Fields and Soil Properties.” In 17 World Congress of Soil Science, Symp. 53:Paper #1558. Bangcock, Tailand, 2002.

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The electrical fields in the surface of soils appear as many different kinds. Methods of self- potential (SP), electrical profiling (EP), vertical electrical sounding (VES), and non-contact electromagnetic profiling (NEP) was used to measure the electrical properties of basic soil types, such as Spodosols, Alfisols, Histosols, Mollisols, and Aridisols (USA Soil Classification) of Russia in situ. The density of mobile electrical changes, reflected in measured electrical properties, was related to many soil physical and chemical properties. Soil chemical properties (humus content, base saturation, cation exchange capacity (CEC), soil mineral composition, and amount of soluble salts) are related to the total amount of charges in soils. Soil physical properties, such as water content and temperature, influence the mobility of electrical charges in soils. The electrical parameters were related with soil properties influencing the density of mobile electrical charges in soils by exponential relationships based on Boltzmann's distribution law of statistical thermodynamics (r=0.657-0.990). Generally, the electrical methods can be used for in situ soil mapping and monitoring when the studied property lone highly influences the distribution of mobile electrical charges in the soil. The electrical properties were used to improve soil characterization for soil morphology and genesis studies; to develop accurate soil maps for precise agriculture practices; and to evaluate soil pollution, disturbance, and physical properties for engineering, forensic, and environmental applications.

Keywords: stationary and non-stationary electrical fields, soil morphology, soil genesis, electrical resistivity and potential, soil properties