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Influence of topography and infiltrability on soil moisture and run-off generation in a small sub-alpine watershed Williams, Harry F. L.


Temporal and spatial variations in soil moisture conditions were studied in a 7500 m² sub-alpine watershed, in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Measurements of soil moisture content were derived from electrical resistance cells, located at 34 sites within the watershed. A series of readings were obtained from the upper and lower part of the soil profile at each site, during the snow-free period. The resulting soil moisture behaviour patterns were examined in terms of response to rainfall. Study findings suggest that a model of soil moisture behaviour based on watershed topography is not supported by observed soil moisture conditions. Re-grouping and reexamination of the data in terms of soil-vegetation complexes, resulted in the emergence of more consistent patterns of soil moisture behaviour. These results indicate that soil 'heterogeneity was more influential than topography, in determining soil moisture conditions. The likely implications of this finding for run-off generation are discussed briefly.

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