Estimation of water infiltration and retention in surficial soils is a critical aspect of many geotechnical and environmental site evaluations. The recent development of field-usable tension infiltrometers now allows insitu measurements of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity (Ku), thus avoiding some uncertainties associated with remolded soil samples tested in the laboratory. Several different geostatistical “mapping” methods can be used to spatially characterize Ku, including ordinary and indicator kriging, as well as spatial simulations that provide realizations (stochastic images) of Ku that exhibit more natural variability than do the smoothed spatial estimations of kriging. Multivariate procedures, such as cokriging and Markov-Bayes simulation, can incorporate information from a secondary attribute (e.g., particle size information) to enhance the spatial characterization of an undersampled Ku field. These geostatistical procedures are demonstrated and compared for a case study at a 700 sq. meter site comprised of coarse soil material. Results indicate that percent-by-weight fractions can be used effectively to enhance insitu spatial characterization of Ku.
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