EGU 2009 – X-ray CT and Soil Aggregates

X-ray Computed Tomography in Geo-sciences: 3D visualization and quantification
Convener: A. Papadopoulos   | Co-Conveners: A. Carminati, S. Mooney , H.-J. Vogel
Soil aggregates: a concept at different spatial and temporal scales
Convener: L. D’Acqui  | Co-Conveners: C. Chenu , A. Papadopoulos

EGU General Assembly 2009, Vienna 19-24 April 2009

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit an abstract for the Symposium Soil System Sciences, Session – SSS37 entitled “X-ray Computed Tomography in Geo-sciences: 3D visualization and quantification” and SSS31 – Soil aggregates: a concept at different spatial and temporal scales

at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2009 in Vienna, Austria, 19 – 24 April 2009.

Detailed information on the SSS37 session can be found at the end of this e-mail and also by visiting:


Financial Support Application: 07 December 2008

Abstract submission: 13 January 2009

Session Information

X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) together with other 3D imaging techniques including NMR and synchrotron are becoming increasingly popular in geo-science, offering the ability to further investigate the intact properties of geo-materials. For instance, the soil physical environment which determines the operating environment for all physical, chemical and biological processes within the soil can be studied in undisturbed manner at different scales. Therefore, visualization and quantification of the porous architecture in both 2D and in particular 3D are of great importance for increasing our understanding of how soil functions in a multiscale manner. At the microscale, the topology and connectivity of the intra-aggregate pore network is of crucial importance for microbial processes, the sequestration of organic carbon, water storage and transport properties which are greatly associated with processes evolving at the larger scale. Similarly, X-ray CT is used to advance our understanding on root-soil interactions, which allow optimizing farming practices and ensure sustainability. Additionally, linking 3D quantified data obtained using X-ray CT with other techniques such as electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) and ground penetrating radar (GPR) is vital for advancing the modelling of soil hydraulic processes in a multi-scale manner.

In recent years, there has been a prominent evolution in equipment (multi-energy and phase contrast X-ray CT) and image analysis software, particularly for 2-D analysis, although volume data processing obtained from radiographs is becoming increasingly demanding for computing and programming resources. Therefore, this session also encourages contributions informing on the progress of image analysis techniques and advances in software packages, specifically for 3D analysis, which may provide solutions to present difficulties with volume processing and quantification.

Contributions to this session are welcomed and encouraged for presenters focusing on the use of X-ray computed tomography, NMR, synchrotron, and other relevant techniques in geosciences, as well as on advances in volume quantification and image analysis. Contributions from multi-scale studies integrating the mentioned techniques and others such as ERT and GPR towards understanding of soil function are also encouraged.

SSS31 – Soil aggregates: a concept at different spatial and temporal scales
Convener: L. D’Acqui  | Co-Conveners: C. Chenu , A. Papadopoulos

Soil aggregates are the basic unit of soil structure, consisting of primary particles (sand, silt and clay), inorganic cements, organic material at different stages of decay and living organisms, all bound together in clusters of different order of magnitude in a multi-scale manner. There is a strong relation between all components of soil aggregates from the micro to macro scale. For instance, a reduction in soil organic matter may result in the long-term degradation of soil structure due to a decrease in the ameliorative action of soil microorganisms causing a reduction in A horizon, reduced range, size and complexity of pores, promoting the formation of finer and weaker aggregates. These traits are associated with soils susceptible to physical degradation i.e. surface crusting, compaction, and erosion resulting in soil losses, poor crop establishment and eventually yield.

The soil physical environment determines the chemical and biological properties of soil and vice-versa. The study of aggregate formation and stability has received great attention in the last few decades, typically associated with soil organic matter. Nowadays, with the availability of sophisticated equipment (X-ray Computed Tomography, rheology, mechanical precision stress inducer etc.) allowing the investigation of the intact aggregate pore structure and networks, the strength and degree of degradation, we are able to improve our understanding of soil aggregate formation and stability as it is a dynamic and complex process.

The aim of this session is to focus on the concept of soil aggregation in a multi-scale, multi-temporal and multi-spatial manner which is essential for making improvements in agriculture as it is related to soil-root interactions, hydrological properties and environmental issues. Contributions to this session are welcomed and encouraged from researchers focusing on aggregate formation, aggregate stability, modeling, and either theoretical or practical concepts of soil aggregation.

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