Various factors contribute to the spatial variation of the soil water content and solute concentration in the unsaturated zone. Factors such as vegetation, microtopography, water repellency and soil layering can cause irregular wetting and fingered flow. Accelerated transport of water and solutes towards groundwater and surface water may be the result and, therefore, it is essential to understand this phenomenon. In the past years, sandy, loam, clay and peat soils in the Netherlands were sampled in vertical transects to study the spatial distribution of soil moisture content. Examples of soil moisture patterns caused by vegetation, microtopography, water repellency and soil layering are described.
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