SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1953

Determining Soil Moisture and Density by Nuclear Radiations


The development of a meter which can be used to determine soil moisture and density rapidly, independent of soil type, is described. The moisture meter is based on fast neutron bombardment of the soil causing the reflection of slow neutrons which activate a detector foil. The activity of the detector foil after a given exposure time can be related to the water content of the soil. The density meter is based on the fact that the amount of gamma ray absorption of the soil is proportional to the density of the soil. Field and laboratory studies of the meter have shown it to have considerable promise, although further development work is necessary. A particular application of the meter is that it can be used to study soil moisture variations in the field over long periods without disturbing equilibrium conditions.

Author Information

Lane, D., A.
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Torchinsky, B., B.
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Spinks, J., W. T.
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 23–34
DOI: 10.1520/STP46247S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-6763-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-6520-5