Vadose Zone Journal is a unique platform for interdisciplinary research on the vadose zone, a critical part of the Earth's surface extending from the soil's upper layer to the groundwater. This international, peer-reviewed journal publishes diverse content, including original research, reviews, and special sections, spanning numerous disciplines. It disseminates fundamental and applied research, promoting science-based decision-making and sustainable vadose zone management. Topics covered range from fluid flow and climate change impacts to waste disposal, biogeochemical processes, subsurface heterogeneity, and more.

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Featured Article

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Vadose Zone Journal Special Section: Soil physics in agricultural production, water resources, and waste management

This issue of Vadose Zone Journal features a special section stemming from the 2022 Kirkham Conference held in South Africa, which concentrated on the applications of soil physics to enhance our understanding of agricultural production, water resources and waste management. The conference emphasized African contexts, as evident in several of the nine published papers. The papers cover a range of topics from theoretical advancements to practical applications in agricultural and environmental stewardship. Additionally, this section honors the contributions of Don and Betty Kirkham, whose support made the conference and subsequent research dissemination possible. Read the introduction to the special section by Quirijn de Jong van Lier et al. here.

Browse Articles

Open access

Irrigation scheduling needs to consider both plant‐available water and soil aeration requirements

  •  29 May 2024

Core Ideas

  • Depthwise soil–water characteristics were measured in eight pasture sites.
  • Density effects of soil moisture retention were observed in selected profiles.
  • Both plant-available water and soil aeration requirements are used to define a critical soil–water window.
  • Simulated irrigation was used to investigate infiltration dynamics in selected profiles.

Open access

Calculating a minimum overlap period for successful intercalibration of soil moisture sensors

  •  29 May 2024

Core Ideas

  • Intercalibration mitigates discontinuities in long-term soil moisture records caused by sensor replacement.
  • Sensor pairs in a testbed are intercalibrated based on the initial 1 to 24 months of overlap and then validated.
  • We recommend that a year be considered the minimum overlap period for statistical and practical reasons.

Open access

Effects of dynamic capillarity on the shear strength of sandy soils during transient two‐phase flow: Insights from non‐equilibrium triaxial simulations

  •  29 May 2024

Core Ideas

  • Hydro-mechanical responses with and without considering dynamic capillarity are compared.
  • Results are indicative of the significance of the effects of dynamic capillarity on hydro-mechanical behavior.
  • Results are more sensitive to dynamic capillarity coefficient than saturated conductivity and air entry value.

Open access

The PDI model system for parameterizing soil hydraulic properties

  •  12 May 2024

Core Ideas

  • Compact and comprehensive mathematical overview of the current PDI system.
  • The model integrates elements of capillary and non-capillary soil water storage and conductivity in a simple manner.
  • Hydraulic conductivity can be completely predicted from the retention curve.
  • Improved applicability in cases where conductivity data are scarce or available only in a limited moisture range.

Open access

Simulating bare soil evaporation for undisturbed soil cores—Using HYDRUS 3D simulation on X‐ray µCT determined soil macrostructures

  •  12 May 2024

Core Ideas

  • The authors present a methodology to conduct 3D simulations with HYDRUS Suite for real soil systems based on X-ray µCT images.
  • The authors present 3D simulation of bare soil evaporation on structured soils.
  • The authors evaluate the simulations using mass loss and tensiometer measurements.
  • The authors present quantification and visualization of the effects of soil structure on soil water dynamics.

More articles
Open access

The role of hydropedology when aiming for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Core Ideas

  • Linking soil research with the SDG debate favors its recognition in the policy and public arena.
  • Hydropedology is more effective in the above context than separate activities of soil physics or pedology.
  • Innovative modeling and measurement methods, digital mapping, and proximal sensing are needed to vitalize hydropedology.
  • Hydropedological contributions to ecosystem services requires a lean, interdisciplinary, operational, and cost-effective approach.

Open access

Determining groundwater recharge for quantifying PFAS mass discharge from unsaturated source zones

Core Ideas

  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the subsurface is an important emerging societal issue.
  • Mass discharge (Md) of PFAS from the vadose zone to groundwater is a key metric for site management.
  • Mass discharge integrates vadose zone source size, concentration, and recharge rate.
  • PFAS porewater sampling has been well researched but estimating recharge at PFAS sites less so.
  • We review ways to estimate recharge and show a tiered approach to estimate recharge through PFAS vadose zones.