The spatial distribution of soil moisture defines preferential flow paths in the unsaturated zone. Hence, three dimensional (3D) estimates of soil moisture are of great importance to understand transport of contaminants as well as remediation processes in the unsaturated zone. In this study 3D estimates conditioned on spatially frequent observations of soil moisture, have been obtained by kriging. The observations were divided into subdomains consistent with the local stratigraphy and directional semivariogram analysis was applied. It was found difficult to clearly identify a 3D semivariogram function in this case, but from a georadar survey two semivariogram functions were derived, describing two different sedimentological units. By conditioning the estimates of soil moisture on the sedimentological architecture computed by indicator kriging, more accurate estimates were achieved. These improvements were quantified by a ‘jackknife’ cross validation procedure. Besides the practical aspects of finding the most important flow paths estimates of soil moisture are valuable when validating unsaturated flow models.
- Received October 15, 1997.
- Revision received September 10, 1997.
- Accepted September 16, 1997.
- © IWA Publishing 1997