Sensors 2011, 11(4), 4188-4206; doi:10.3390/s110404188
Article

Can Infrared Spectroscopy Be Used to Measure Change in Potassium Nitrate Concentration as a Proxy for Soil Particle Movement?

Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, Hengelosestraat 99, P.O. Box 37, 7500AA, Enschede, The Netherlands
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 March 2011; in revised form: 6 April 2011 / Accepted: 7 April 2011 / Published: 7 April 2011
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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Abstract: Displacement of soil particles caused by erosion influences soil condition and fertility. To date, the cesium 137 isotope (137Cs) technique is most commonly used for soil particle tracing. However when large areas are considered, the expensive soil sampling and analysis present an obstacle. Infrared spectral measurements would provide a solution, however the small concentrations of the isotope do not influence the spectral signal sufficiently. Potassium (K) has similar electrical, chemical and physical properties as Cs. Our hypothesis is that it can be used as possible replacement in soil particle tracing. Soils differing in texture were sampled for the study. Laboratory soil chemical analyses and spectral sensitivity analyses were carried out to identify the wavelength range related to K concentration. Different concentrations of K fertilizer were added to soils with varying texture properties in order to establish spectral characteristics of the absorption feature associated with the element. Changes in position of absorption feature center were observed at wavelengths between 2,450 and 2,470 nm, depending on the amount of fertilizer applied. Other absorption feature parameters (absorption band depth, width and area) were also found to change with K concentration with coefficient of determination between 0.85 and 0.99. Tracing soil particles using K fertilizer and infrared spectral response is considered suitable for soils with sandy and sandy silt texture. It is a new approach that can potentially grow to a technique for rapid monitoring of soil particle movement over large areas.
Keywords: soil particles; soil erosion; chemical tracer; Potassium; infrared spectroscopy; absorption feature parameters

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MDPI and ACS Style

Luleva, M.I.; Van der Werff, H.; Jetten, V.; Van der Meer, F. Can Infrared Spectroscopy Be Used to Measure Change in Potassium Nitrate Concentration as a Proxy for Soil Particle Movement? Sensors 2011, 11, 4188-4206.

AMA Style

Luleva MI, Van der Werff H, Jetten V, Van der Meer F. Can Infrared Spectroscopy Be Used to Measure Change in Potassium Nitrate Concentration as a Proxy for Soil Particle Movement? Sensors. 2011; 11(4):4188-4206.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Luleva, Mila Ivanova; Van der Werff, Harald; Jetten, Victor; Van der Meer, Freek. 2011. "Can Infrared Spectroscopy Be Used to Measure Change in Potassium Nitrate Concentration as a Proxy for Soil Particle Movement?" Sensors 11, no. 4: 4188-4206.

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