Solution: A Multistripe Laser Triangulation (MLT) scanner has been adapted to scan and accurately show large soil pores (macropores). Using the MLT scanner allows soil hydrologists to predict water movement by comparing soil when it’s dry to when it is saturated with water.
Goals and Objectives: Predicting water movement in soil is important for understanding recharge rates of aquifers, making the management of this resource potentially more effective and efficient. This is especially important for agriculturalists in areas that are plagued by drought. The tool could also help scientists and farmers better understand water runoff, soil erosion, how sediment is added to the land (i.e. deposition), and sedimentation of surface water reservoirs. In addition, it could predict how nutrients are transported within the soil.
Implementation: The International Potato Center (CIP) has worked with Rutgers University and the University of Kansas to develop a tool to predict how water moves through the soil. The scanner was originally developed for engineering purposes and was adapted its use to study soil pores and preferential flow.
The MLT offers advantages to researchers in the field of soil hydrology. The MLT scanner is better at detecting and mapping the soil macroporosity when the soil is dry versus when it is saturated with water. Using math to account for the difference between the two states of the soil, one can make predictions about water movement.
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