Valentina Jara, Centro de Cambio Global, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, Eduardo Arellano, Departamento Ecosistemas y Medio Ambiente, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile and John M. Baker, USDA-ARS Soil & Water Management Research Unit, St. Paul, MN
Measuring infiltration is necessary in most soil studies as it is related to the pore structure of soil which in turn is related to root exploration and nutrient flow through soil, among other soil properties. Many methods are available to measure infiltration rates in the field or in the laboratory and the main problem most of them share is soil disturbance prior to measurement. Moreover, when working with dry clayey or stony soils some methodologies become impractical. The minidisk infiltrometer overcomes these issues, as it does not produce cracks in the soil and a friable or stone-free soil is not needed. Besides, it is a low water consuming portable equipment and comes with a spreadsheet to make all calculations easier. One matter is still causing trouble. These methodologies rely on the observer to read and record the height of water every half minute or other fixed time lapse, depending on the soil class. This fact itself implies the biggest source of error in the determination of the parameter and implies expending valuable field trip time. The use of a time lapse camera attached to the minidisk infiltrometer allows recording the height of water as a photograph which can be downloaded and read later, translating the data into a far more accurate parameter, besides saving the observerís time.