Early-time GPR: A method to monitor spatial variations in soil water content during irrigation in clay soils

Jonathan Algeo, Remke L. Van Dam, Lee Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We used a recent ground-penetrating radar (GPR) methodology, earlytime amplitude analysis, with the goal of monitoring changes in soil water content (SWC) in response to irrigation in clayey soils. We hypothesized that early-time analysis could be used to monitor changes in SWC in clay-rich soil where ground wave and reflection-based GPR methods traditionally fail. An overnight irrigation experiment was performed in a 20-by 14-m section of natural grassland at the Samford Ecological Research Facility in southeastern Queensland, Australia. Both GPR reflection surveys and ground wave velocity analysis were ineffective at the site due to the signal attenuation associated with the clay-rich soil. We collected daily GPR and time-domain reflectometry (TDR) data sets during a 5-d period in August 2014, with soil samples collected for gravimetric analysis at the conclusion of data collection. The GPR data display a clear response of the early-time signal amplitude to changes in SWC. The GPR data sets exhibit a strong correlation with SWC, as measured by TDR and gravimetric analysis of soil cores, which is consistent with the dependence of GPR early-time amplitude on relative permittivity. The results suggest that the early-time method can be used to obtain spatially distributed information on subsurface moisture content in clay-rich soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalVadose Zone Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science


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