Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name









The dynamism of a variety of hydrologic phenomena tied to the process of infiltration are studied here in relation to their spatial and temporal variability within subhectare bowl-like depressions, or 'nano-catchments'. The process of infiltration is becoming increasingly important to understand as a result of anthropogenically driven changes to the near-surface soil matrix, which alters this process. Within the context of infiltration, the spatial variability of soil moisture is assessed under a changing hydrologic regime in south-central Ontario during a rainfall event. With an increase in soil moisture following precipitation events, the spatial auto-correlation increases for both samples that incorporate 15 cm and 30 cm samples. The pattern of soil moisture is influenced by local topographic shape; however this pattern is also altered by the effect of vegetation in the form of active photosynthesizing vegetation and leaf detritus. The effect of vegetation is such that the relationship between topographic gradient and soil moisture is enhanced under active vegetation, while this same relationship is muted under leaf litter. The variability of infiltration to the point of soil saturation is also assessed. A number of estimates of hydraulic conductivity are used, as well as differing estimates of soil moisture to evaluate the bias of using single point measures versus areal estimates in the modelling of infiltration within these nano-catchments. In conjunction with infiltration modelling, matric potential throughout two nano-catchments is assessed in relation to site characteristics including vegetation, macropores and topographic position. Conclusions support that in monitoring infiltration and soil moisture cannot be fully represented by single point measurements, even at a sub-hectare scale.Dept. of Earth Sciences. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2006 .A537. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 45-01, page: 0259. Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2006.