Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Agriculture, Forestry, Horticulture, Fishery, Domestic Science, Nutrition
The prismatic structure and soil behaviour were studied on a saline clayey soil in the polder of the Marais de ľQuest (France). Three profiles with different histories were examined, and the structure under wet and dry conditions, ionic concentrations, and changes in void ratio and water suction were measured on prisms sampled between 5 and 40 cm deep, in four places (base, centre, top and side). Seasonal dynamics were accompanied by reorganization within the prismatic structure, changing both the size and distinctiveness of the blocky substructure. Chemical and physical characteristics were closely related to the sharpness of these two imbricated structures. In the absence of blocky substructure the salinity increased horizontally from the centres of the prisms to their sides (the latter acting as exchange surface between the soil and the atmosphere), and no physical gradient was apparent. These results emphasized the permanence of lateral hydraulic continuity in individual prisms. On the other hand, where the blocky substructure was well developed there was no lateral variation of salinity within the prisms, whereas the swelling potential varied from the centres to the sides: the sharpness of the substructure therefore caused a decrease in lateral water transfer. The internal structure of the prisms appeared to determine the seasonal behaviour of the soil.
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