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Preferential flow

Fließmuster im Boden

Dye pattern in a soil after infiltrating water traced with a blue dye

lateraler präferentieller Fließweg

Flow from a lateral preferential flow path (pipe flow)


Water flow in preferential pathways is an important mechanism of water movement, in particular infiltration, in natural soils. Preferential flow pathways can be earthworm channels and cracks (macropores), fissures, root channels and many more. Preferential flow is still not well understood, since direct observations are difficult and the natural heterogeneity is huge. However, we know that the impact of preferential flow on water movement and solute transport as well as on runoff generation, is very important, but we are still lacking adequate detecting methods and models to better predict preferential flow.

Animation of a preferential flow network during lateral subsurface flow in a hillslope (Weiler und McDonnell, 2007)


Fließnetz-Animation preferentiellen Abflusses

Aufbau Beregnungsversuch

Rainfall simulation experiments to detect preferential flow pathways in soils


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