SOIL 5232: Vadose Zone Hydrology

Term(s) offered: 
Course credits: 
Grading basis: 
30% mid exam, 25% final exam, 25% reports/papers, 20% problem solving.


This course is intended for undergraduates and graduate students in Soil, Water, & Climate, Water Resources, Institute of Technology, Environmental Sciences, and Natural Resources. The course covers soil physical properties and processes that govern the transport of mass and energy in soils. Major emphasis is on water and solute transport through the vadose zone and their impact on subsurface hydrology and water quality. Specific topics include energy state of soil water, soil water retention characteristics, saturated and unsaturated hydraulic conductivities, Poiseuille and Darcy laws, law of mass conservation, water flow through uniform and layered soils, water infiltration equations, mechanisms of contaminant transport, preferential flow, contaminant adsorption and decay, transport of volatile organic compound, soil thermal properties, steady and non-steady state heat flow, and convective and diffusive gas fluxes. The lectures are supplemented with hands on laboratory exercises on methods of measuring hydraulic, thermal, and gas properties of soils, and methods of characterizing water, contaminants, heat, and gas fluxes in soils. We also have one to two guest lectures from scientists working in the Environmental Consulting Companies and State Agencies.

Course time: 
70% Lecture, 30% Laboratory.
Course work load: 
10 pages reading per week, 20 pages writing per term, 3 exams, 0 papers.
Course exam format: 
multiple choice and identification

Course instructor(s)

Course Instructor