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Soil density evaluated by spectral reflectance as an evidence of compaction effects

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Soil compaction, reflected by high bulk density, is an environmental degradation process and new technologies are being developed for its detection. Despite the proven efficiency of remote sensing, it has not been widely used for soil density. Our objective was to evaluate the density of two soils: a Typic Quartzpisament (TQ) and a Rhodic Paleudalf (RP), using spectral reflectance obtained by a laboratory spectroradiometer between 450 and 2500 nm. Undisturbed samples were taken at two depths (0-20 and 60-80 cm), and were artificially compacted. Spectral data, obtained before and after compaction, were compared for both wet and dried compacted samples. Results demonstrated that soil density was greater in RP than in TQ at both depths due to its clayey texture. Spectral data detected high density (compacted) from low density (non-compacted) clayey soils under both wet and dry conditions. The detection of density in sandy soils by spectral reflectance was not possible. The intensity of spectral reflectance of high soil bulk density (compacted) samples was higher than for low density (non-compacted) soils due to changes in soil structure and porosity. Dry samples with high bulk density showed differences in the spectral intensity, but not in the absorption features. Wet samples in equal condition had statistically higher reflectance intensity than that of the low soil bulk density (non-compacted), and absorption differences at 1920 nm, which was due to the altered position of the water molecules. Soil line and spectral reflectance used together could detect soil bulk density variations for the clay soil. This technique could assist in the detection of high soil density in the laboratory by providing new soil information.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Soil and Plant Nutrition, University of Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil 2: Department of Agronomy, State University of Maringa, Maringa, Parana, Brazil 3: Department of Soil, University Federal of Bahia, Cruz das Almas, Bahia, Brazil 4: Department of Rural Engineering, University of Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil 5: Brazilian National Spacial Resource Institute, Sao Jose dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: 01 March 2010

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