On the relationship between iron concentration and induced polarization in marsh soils

Nasser Mansoor, Lee Slater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Induced polarization (IP) measurements (0.1-1000 Hz) were conducted on seventeen clay and peat marsh soils that were subsequently analyzed for heavy metal concentrations, moisture content, organic matter, porosity, specific surface area, and pore fluid conductivity. A Cole-Cole model was fit to each sample and model parameters analyzed in terms of physicochemical properties. We found a linear relation between the normalized chargeability (mn) and estimated surface area to pore volume (Sp) when iron content (ranging from 0.25% to 1.63% by volume) is accounted for as a polarizable element of the soil. In fact, the dependence of mn on volumetric Fe concentration per unit volume of the bulk soil is described by a linear relationship with a correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.94. As Fe concentration is a critical biogeochemical parameter, our findings suggest that IP measurements may provide a hitherto unrecognized approach to probing soil geochemistry, iron cycling and anaerobic microbial activity. Furthermore, our results yield insights into physicochemical controls on IP in natural soils.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A1-A5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


  • Clay
  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Electromagnetic wave polarisation
  • Geochemistry
  • Iron
  • Sediments
  • Soil

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