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Bulk soil electrical conductivity (ECa) was measured in one weak-structured and three naturally well-structured soils under undisturbed conditions and after structure disruption. Two structure-disruption procedures of increasing severity were used. Bulk soil electrical conductivity was measured by two independent techniques, electromagnetic induction and four-electrode probe, and showed a close similarity between undisturbed and disturbed samples as long as soils were repacked to the original field density. The minimal effect of structure disruption on bulk soil electrical conductivity as determined by electromagnetic induction was expected because measurement by this technique is based on an electromagnetic pulse signal interacting with the electric field of the ions in the soil solution and not on direct contact. These findings may reduce time, inconvenience, and expense in obtaining calibration curves for bulk soil–soil solution electrical conductivity needed for determining soil salinity.

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Effect of structure on bulk soil electrical conductivity (ECa) using the TDR and 4P techniques
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Effect of structure on bulk soil electrical conductivity (ECa) using the TDR and 4P techniques

Bulk soil electrical conductivity (ECa) was measured in one weak-structured and three naturally well-structured soils under undisturbed conditions and after structure disruption. Two structure-disruption procedures of increasing severity were used. Bulk soil electrical conductivity was measured by two independent techniques, electromagnetic induction and four-electrode probe, and showed a close similarity between undisturbed and disturbed samples as long as soils were repacked to the original field density. The minimal effect of structure disruption on bulk soil electrical conductivity as determined by electromagnetic induction was expected because measurement by this technique is based on an electromagnetic pulse signal interacting with the electric field of the ions in the soil solution and not on direct contact. These findings may reduce time, inconvenience, and expense in obtaining calibration curves for bulk soil–soil solution electrical conductivity needed for determining soil salinity.

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