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Imaging a polygonal network of ice-wedge casts with an electromagnetic induction sensor

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Abstract
Images of the morphology of a polygonal network of ice-wedge casts are a valuable aid to paleoclimatological reconstructions. Usually such images are obtained by aerial photography showing polygonal crop marks reflecting textural differences between wedge filling and host material. Our objective was to investigate an alternative method by measuring the soil apparent electrical conductivity (EC(a)) with an electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor. Based on an aerial photograph showing polygonal crop marks in an agricultural field in Belgium, a test area of 0.63 ha was selected. A small part of the test area (6 by 6 m) was excavated revealing a clear pattern of ice-wedge casts. The wedges penetrated clay-rich Tertiary marine sediments, covered by a 0.6-m layer of eolian sandy sediments, and were associated with the permafrost during the last glacial period. We took 94 subsoil (0.6-0.8 m) samples distributed over the test area and analyzed their texture. The results showed a clear difference between the Eocene host material (on average 21% clay) and the Quaternary wedge filling (on average 6% clay). The test area was surveyed with an EMI sensor (we used an EM38DD) which resulted in an accurate image of the polygonal network. We concluded that an EMI survey is an appropriate technique to image the morphology of a polygonal network of subsoil ice-wedge casts. A final perspective comprises the strong heterogeneity of the subsoil, since nearly half of the subsoil consists of ice-wedge material. This might open perspectives for precision agriculture in such landscapes.
Keywords
EM38DD, DUALEM-21S SENSORS, PSEUDOMORPHS, SENSITIVITY, FLANDERS, BELGIUM, CANADA, DEPTH, SOIL, USA

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Chicago
Meerschman, Eef, Marc Van Meirvenne, Philippe De Smedt, Timothy Saey, Mohammad Monirul Islam, Fun Meeuws, Ellen Van De Vijver, and Gunther Ghysels. 2011. “Imaging a Polygonal Network of Ice-wedge Casts with an Electromagnetic Induction Sensor.” Soil Science Society of America Journal 75 (6): 2095–2100.
APA
Meerschman, E., Van Meirvenne, M., De Smedt, P., Saey, T., Islam, M. M., Meeuws, F., Van De Vijver, E., et al. (2011). Imaging a polygonal network of ice-wedge casts with an electromagnetic induction sensor. SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA JOURNAL, 75(6), 2095–2100.
Vancouver
1.
Meerschman E, Van Meirvenne M, De Smedt P, Saey T, Islam MM, Meeuws F, et al. Imaging a polygonal network of ice-wedge casts with an electromagnetic induction sensor. SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA JOURNAL. 2011;75(6):2095–100.
MLA
Meerschman, Eef, Marc Van Meirvenne, Philippe De Smedt, et al. “Imaging a Polygonal Network of Ice-wedge Casts with an Electromagnetic Induction Sensor.” SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA JOURNAL 75.6 (2011): 2095–2100. Print.
@article{1959985,
  abstract     = {Images of the morphology of a polygonal network of ice-wedge casts are a valuable aid to paleoclimatological reconstructions. Usually such images are obtained by aerial photography showing polygonal crop marks reflecting textural differences between wedge filling and host material. Our objective was to investigate an alternative method by measuring the soil apparent electrical conductivity (EC(a)) with an electromagnetic induction (EMI) sensor. Based on an aerial photograph showing polygonal crop marks in an agricultural field in Belgium, a test area of 0.63 ha was selected. A small part of the test area (6 by 6 m) was excavated revealing a clear pattern of ice-wedge casts. The wedges penetrated clay-rich Tertiary marine sediments, covered by a 0.6-m layer of eolian sandy sediments, and were associated with the permafrost during the last glacial period. We took 94 subsoil (0.6-0.8 m) samples distributed over the test area and analyzed their texture. The results showed a clear difference between the Eocene host material (on average 21\% clay) and the Quaternary wedge filling (on average 6\% clay). The test area was surveyed with an EMI sensor (we used an EM38DD) which resulted in an accurate image of the polygonal network. We concluded that an EMI survey is an appropriate technique to image the morphology of a polygonal network of subsoil ice-wedge casts. A final perspective comprises the strong heterogeneity of the subsoil, since nearly half of the subsoil consists of ice-wedge material. This might open perspectives for precision agriculture in such landscapes.},
  author       = {Meerschman, Eef and Van Meirvenne, Marc and De Smedt, Philippe and Saey, Timothy and Islam, Mohammad Monirul and Meeuws, Fun and Van De Vijver, Ellen and Ghysels, Gunther},
  issn         = {0361-5995},
  journal      = {SOIL SCIENCE SOCIETY OF AMERICA JOURNAL},
  keyword      = {EM38DD,DUALEM-21S SENSORS,PSEUDOMORPHS,SENSITIVITY,FLANDERS,BELGIUM,CANADA,DEPTH,SOIL,USA},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {6},
  pages        = {2095--2100},
  title        = {Imaging a polygonal network of ice-wedge casts with an electromagnetic induction sensor},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.2136/sssaj2011.0063},
  volume       = {75},
  year         = {2011},
}

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