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Effects of fire on cation content in water: a laboratory simulation study

Cancelo-González, J., Rial-Rivas, M. E., Díaz-Fierros, F.
International journal of wildland fire 2013 v.22 no.5 pp. 667-680
exchangeable cations, fires, heat treatment, leaching, rainfall simulation, soil sampling, soil structure, soil temperature, subsurface flow, water content
Laboratory experiments were carried out to explore the effect of thermal shocks (as occur during fire) and simulated rainfall events on cation leaching dynamics in an organic rich Leptic Umbrisol soil. The soil samples were collected in the field using specially designed lysimeter boxes that allow sampling and application of thermal shock treatments and simulated rainfall while keeping the soil structure unaltered. The soil temperature during the thermal shocks and degree-hours of accumulated heat were determined, and cation (Na+, K+, Ca2+ and Mg2+) leaching was measured in surface runoff (0-cm depth) and subsurface flow (12-cm depth) samples collected from the lysimeter boxes. Important differences were found in cation leaching in relation to thermal shock: monovalent cation leaching from the soil above 200°C (68 degree-hours) and divalent cations leaching above 220°C (195 degree-hours) was higher than that seen in other treatments. In general, the amount of cations leached increased with the severity of the thermal shock; however, under moderate conditions, there was a decrease in cation leaching, mainly of monovalent ions. The exchangeable cation losses by leaching in the intense heat treatments were ~80%.