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Results of infiltration tests near Scott City, western Kansas

January 1, 1976

Several types of ring infiltrometers were used to determine infiltration rates in loessial soil near Scott City, Kansas. Test results were evaluated for consistency, and were compared with infiltration rates in the underlying loess and with hydraulic conductivities in the unsaturated zone.

Average daily infiltration rates in the Richfield soil ranged from 3 to 5 feet or 0.9 to 1.5 m (metres) after 16 days using 22-inch or 560mm (millimetre) ring infiltrometers; 2.3 feet (0.7 m) after 68 days using a 10-inch (250-mm) ring infiltrometer; and from 1.3 to 2.2 feet (0.4 to 0.7 m) after 38 days using double-ring infiltrometers. By comparison, the average daily infiltration rate in the underlying Peoria Loess using a 10-inch (250-mm) ring infiltrometer was about 13 feet (4.0 m) after 7 days.

Tests using the double-ring infiltrometer, a paraffin seal in the 22-inch (560-mm) infiltrometer, and the measurement of flow through concentric areas of the soil core indicated that leakage of water between the infiltrometer wall and the soil was not significant. Lateral movement of the wetting front extended radially 4.7 feet (1.4 m) from the infiltrometer wall.

Laboratory tests of a soil core indicated that the lowest hydraulic conductivity was in the depth interval from 3.9 to 8.6 inches (99 to 218 mm). Soil in this interval, which coincides with the depth of cultivation, evidently limits the rate of infiltration.

Air-permeability tests in the unsaturated deposits gave a hydraulic conductivity of 0.2 foot per day (0.1 m/day) for the depth interval from 57 to 75 feet (17.0 to 23.0 m) as compared to a hydraulic conductivity of 1.9 feet per day (0.6 m/day) for the depth interval from 0 to 5 feet (0 to 1.5 m). A perched water table probably would occur above this interval during prolonged infiltration.

Infiltration rates determined from the different types of ring infiltrometers were not consistent, but the tests showed that substantial quantities of water could infiltrate the Richfield soil.

Publication Year 1976
Title Results of infiltration tests near Scott City, western Kansas
DOI 10.3133/wri7612
Authors Joe B. Gillespie, G.D. Hargadine
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 76-12
Index ID wri7612
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse