Impact of marble powder amendment on hydraulic properties of a sandy soil
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Department of Civil Engineering, University of Alicante, Crta. San Vicente s/n. 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Alicante, Spain
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Alicante, Spain
USDA-ARS, Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Lab., 10300 Baltimore Av., Building 173 Room 203, BARC-East, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA
Final revision date: 2020-01-29
Acceptance date: 2020-02-17
Publication date: 2020-03-30
Corresponding author
Yakov Pachepsky   

Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory, USDA-ARS, 10300 Baltimore Ave Bldg. 173, 20705, Beltsville, United States
Int. Agrophys. 2020, 34(2): 223-232
Marble powder is one of carbonate rock amendments that is used to improve soil reaction. We hypothesized that the powdered marble addition can cause favorable changes in hydraulic properties of sandy soils. Six levels of marble powder addition to an aridisol soil (0%; M0; 5%; M5; 10%; M10; 15%; M15; 20%; M20 and 25%, M25; by bulk volume) were analyzed in triplicate. The saturated hydraulic conductivity and soil water retention curves were obtained. Pore space properties were investigated using soil water retention curves, mercury intrusion porosimetry and scanning electron microscopy. The saturated hydraulic conductivity significantly decreased (between 83 and 97% for M5 and M25 respectively) and parameters α and n of the van Genuchten model significantly decreased in marble-amended soils. Both field capacity and permanent wilting point increased with the addition of marble powder. Plant-available water, increased significantly until 10% of marble powder application; higher percentages of application did not provide additional significant changes in the plant-available water. Pore space distributions from soil water retention curves parameters showed an increase in the pore size range and a decrease in the average pore size; pore space distribution from the scanning electron microscopy also showed the presence of a new family of dominant pore sizes which was not detected by the soil water retention curves parameters approach. It was concluded that the addition of marble powder can improve the ability of soil to store water providing an advantage for irrigation water management in water scarce environments. Further research will have to address the impact of marble powder amendment under field semi-arid conditions.
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