Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-190
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
17 May 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
In situ investigation of rapid subsurface flow: Identification of relevant spatial structures beyond heterogeneity
Conrad Jackisch1, Lisa Angermann2, Niklas Allroggen3, Matthias Sprenger4,5, Theresa Blume2, Markus Weiler4, Jens Tronicke3, and Erwin Zehe1 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Water and River Basin Management, Chair of Hydrology, Karlsruhe, Germany
2Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section Hydrology, Potsdam, Germany
3University of Potsdam, Institute of Earth and Environmental Science, Potsdam, Germany
4University of Freiburg, Institute of Geo- and Environmental Natural Sciences, Chair of Hydrology, Freiburg, Germany
5University of Aberdeen, School of Geosciences, Geography & Environment, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK
Abstract. Rapid subsurface flow in structured soils facilitates fast vertical and lateral redistribution of event water. Despite their significance and omnipresence the related processes are challenging hydrological exploration, monitoring, modeling and theory. One reason for this is that flow processes at high velocities are difficult to observe in the subsurface. Another reason is that advective flow is channeled in distinct connected structures several orders of magnitude smaller than commonly resolved observation volumes. This is the second part of a companion paper with a focus on \textit{in situ} experimental exploration of rapid subsurface flow. Complementary to the temporal dynamics, this study looks into the identification of spatially organized structures. We present a bottom-up approach with point-scale measurements, plot-scale multi-tracer experiments and a hillslope-scale irrigation experiment. Special emphasis is given to the employed 2D and 3D time-lapse ground penetrating radar monitoring under field conditions on forested, young soils on periglacial slope deposits. The study highlights the difficulty to draw conclusions beyond overall heterogeneity from point observations in a basically unknown and structured domain. We also spotlight the challenge to identify relevant structures based on a single quasi-static exploration. A coherent combination of different hydrological and geophysical methods to monitor the system under driven conditions was key to reduce ambiguity in the identification of hydrologically relevant structures and the overall process understanding.

Citation: Jackisch, C., Angermann, L., Allroggen, N., Sprenger, M., Blume, T., Weiler, M., Tronicke, J., and Zehe, E.: In situ investigation of rapid subsurface flow: Identification of relevant spatial structures beyond heterogeneity, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-190, in review, 2016.
Conrad Jackisch et al.
Conrad Jackisch et al.
Conrad Jackisch et al.

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Short summary
Rapid subsurface flow in structured soils facilitates fast vertical and lateral redistribution of event water. We present its in situ exploration through local measurements and irrigation experiments. Special emphasis is given to a coherent combination of hydrological and geophysical methods. The study highlights the difficulty to draw conclusions beyond overall heterogeneity from point observations. Dynamic imaging through time-lapse GPR was key to identify hydrologically relevant structures.
Rapid subsurface flow in structured soils facilitates fast vertical and lateral redistribution...
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