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Keywords:

  • DUALEM-421;
  • inversion;
  • modelling;
  • exchangeable sodium percentage;
  • alluvial clay plains

Abstract

Agriculture in the semi-arid and arid areas of the world requires irrigation. However, in these areas, soils naturally contain large amounts of sodium (sodic) which can cause amongst other things, surface crusting on the topsoil or structural instability in the subsoil. The exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) needs to be mapped to guide the application of gypsum. Whilst geostatistical techniques, such as ordinary, co- and 3-D kriging have been used, they have often been criticized because they are unable to take into account soil knowledge concerning distribution, processes and factors of formation. The use of digital soil mapping methods which couple remote or proximally sensed data with soil information is increasingly becoming useful because of the production of high-resolution ancillary data. In this study, we first invert (using EM4Soil software) the electrical conductivity (σa –mS/m) of DUALEM-421 data collected along a single transect. In doing this, we generate a 2-dimensional electromagnetic conductivity image (EMCI). We couple the estimates of electrical conductivity (σ – mS/m) at 0.30 m depth increments down to 1.5 m with measured soil ESP. We compare the results of inversion using various possible coil array configurations of the DUALEM-421 to determine a suitable set of data. We conclude that the use of the DUALEM-41 is optimal (r2 = 0.70). We use the calibration to estimate ESP along adjacent transects where we also generate EMCI. We are thus able to estimate ESP at various depths across a clay plain and an associated prior stream channel. We conclude that the collection of additional transects of DUALEM-421 data as well as the use of a quasi-3-D inversion modelling approach would improve prediction.