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The contribution of rock fragments to the available water content of stony soils: proposition of new pedotransfer functions

Abstract : The contribution of rock fragments to the soil available water content (SAWC) of stony soil has been quantified by measurements of bulk density and gravimetric water content at different water potentials on rock fragments of different lithologies: flints, cherts, chalks, gaizes and limestones. More than 1000 pebbles (2 cm < equivalent diameter of the rock fragment < 5 cm) have been sampled in stony soils developed from each of the five lithologies. We demonstrated that the water content at saturation of the studied pebbles was equal to the water content at −100 hPa and to the water content at field capacity. A linear relationship between the water content at −100 hPa and at −15,840 hPa enabled to derive a simple pedotransfer function to determine the available water content of the rock fragments. We also proposed a second simple pedotransfer function, which expresses the available water content from the dry bulk density of the rock fragments only. A simulation at the horizon scale for a loamy-clay stony horizon showed that the SAWC could be strongly misjudged when the rock fragments were not taken into account: for a stony horizon containing 30% of pebbles, the SAWC is underestimated by 5% for chert pebbles and by 33% for chalk pebbles.
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Marion Tetegan, Bernard Nicoullaud, Denis Baize, Alain Bouthier, Isabelle Cousin. The contribution of rock fragments to the available water content of stony soils: proposition of new pedotransfer functions. Geoderma, Elsevier, 2011, 165 (1), pp.40-49. ⟨10.1016/j.geoderma.2011.07.001⟩. ⟨hal-02650585⟩

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