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Project ID: 2004CO99B

Title: Salt Chemistry Effects on Indirect Field Salinity Assessment in the Arkansas River Valley, Colorado

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Irrigation, Hydrogeochemistry, Water Quality

Keywords: Salinity, Soil chemistry, Electromagnetic Induction Meter (EM), Arkansas River Valley, Gypsum

Start Date: 03/01/2004

End Date: 02/28/2005

Federal Funds: $2,735

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $5,472

Congressional District: 4th

Principal Investigator:
Grant E. Cardon
Colorado State University


Salinity in the Arkansas River Basin is causing decreased productivity; with potential salinity sources being, geologic, waterlogging, urban and agricultural return flows. However, there is little chemical soil data to describe accurately and specifically, the type of salinity. Field observation suggests that the primary soil salinity is calcium-based (gypsum or calcite), and this type of salinity may be a factor in the difficulty of calibrating electromagnetic induction probes for in-field salinity assessment. Soil samples will be collected in randomly selected fields associated with a larger, on-going Salinity and Waterlogging Project. These samples will be processed to analyze for primary cations (calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and boron) and primary anions (chloride and sulfate). Additionally, an examination of soil water extract techniques will occur, to determine if there is a significant difference between the potential electrical conductivity measured by standard laboratory methods, and the expressed electrical conductivity in the field monitoring. Due to precipitation of large quantities of calcite and gypsum in field soils, dissolution thermodynamics may influence the differences between lab and field methods of salinity measurement. Studying dissolution and precipitation thermodynamics of in-situ soil salt chemistry will lead to an understanding of the effects of soil conditions on the performance of the electromagnetic induction salinity probe. This will be critical to accurate, rapid field assessment and monitoring of changes in salinity as water management in the Arkansas Valley changes over time.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Tuesday July 12, 2005 2:54 PM
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