Clay crack monitoring

Posted 18 March 2008

Due to their high nutrient content and water holding capacity, cracking soils offer favourable conditions for agriculture. It is therefore not surprising that the majority of irrigated crops in Australia are grown in these fine-grained cracking soils. To sustainably manage irrigation of cracking soils a better understanding of crack dynamics and of their influence on soil water movement is of central importance.

The Connected Waters Initiative (CWI) team is presently developing a method to monitor water movement in cracking soils. As part of this investigation the closing and opening of surface cracks was monitored with time photography. The following time lapse series shows the closing of a crack system after a drying period of 7 years as well as the opening and reappearing of a surface crack network. Click here for more information about the project.