Research evaluates how ‘vadose zone’ affects runoff water

Image result for soil profileCody Ross, a member of the Watershed Systems Research Program at the University of Manitoba in Canada, is measuring water flow in a part of the soil called the vadose zone. Although the name might make you recall scary episodes of the “Twilight Zone,” the vadose zone is just the saturated level of soil right under the surface. It can be just a few centimeters to over a meter in depth. And the vadose zone is where important things happen in the soil. The vadose zone is complex. Within it, sand particles are huge in comparison to clay particles, affecting water flow. That’s why you can see water percolate through sand quickly on a beach. Healthy soils also have a good amount of organic matter from decaying plants or insects. Ross’ work is important because how water moves over, through, and around all those soil particles, organic matter, pores, microbes, and roots matters. More