Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type





Plant and Soil Science

First Advisor

Dr. Ole Wendroth


Rapid and deep transport of solutes in soils can potentially pollute groundwater resources. Field estimates of solute leaching depth based on randomized sampling provide extremely variable field average estimates that confound the treatment effects of the leaching study with the high spatial variation of soil hydraulic properties. The purpose of this study was to investigate the spatial scale of variation of solute (Bromide) leaching depth, and apply this scale of variation to study the leaching depth of Bromide as a function of a sinusoidal application of transport causing factors, i.e., rainfall amount, intensity and application time delay. Solute leaching depth varied over different spatial scales. The deepest leaching was observed on plots where the Br center of mass ranged from 19-30 cm depth. Deep leaching occurred with large quantities of low intensity precipitations (5.5 to 6 cm/day) and short time delays (≤ 17 hours), respectively. The hydraulic gradient presented cyclic variation at 8 m wavelength across the 10-30cm depth compartment. Spectral analysis indicated that spatial variation of the leaching depth was mainly affected by precipitation amount and intensity and only a small portion of the leaching depth variation was caused by time delay. Cross-spectral analysis identified common cyclic variation between the Br leaching depth and precipitation amount, intensity and time delay over 32, 32 and 8 m wavelengths, respectively. Simulated Br concentration over depth and horizontal distance and soil water matric potential ψm were in good agreement with experimental observations, the latter revealing a satisfactory Br and water mass balance.