Frequency domain electromagnetic method (FDEM) as a tool to study contamination at the sub-soil layer

Eli Zaady, Naftaly Goldshleger, Omer Shamir, Uri Basson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Traditional sheep and cattle grazing in natural semiarid Mediterranean, Asian and African regions is based on night corrals, where animal secretions accumulate. Lack of management and disregard for the long-term effects of using the same sites for corrals on underground soil characters may negatively affect soil values. This locally increases the content of organic matter and nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and others that are stockpiled in the corrals. As these activities are long-lasting, they affect the soil parameters, leading to nutrient leakage and contamination of the upper and sub-soil surface. This alarming situation demands a technique to reveal and estimate sub-soil contamination in corrals by using the frequency domain electromagnetic method (FDEM) for measuring soil salinity. The aim of this study is to correlate electrical conductivity measurement with the FDEM to study the influence of sheep corrals on the changes within the sub-soils of corrals in the semiarid region of the northern Negev desert. The results show that a correlation was found between the laboratory soil analysis and the electromagnetic analysis in all sites. Plugot forest site results found to be anomalous indicated sub-surface conductivity resulting from the presence of the corral, with a higher conductivity value of about 230 mS/m, while no differences were found between the soil layers outside the active corral and the corral edge. High values were found in the center of the active corral: 960 mS/m by the laboratory analysis and 200 mS/m by the FDEM. The values obtained in the abandoned corral in the laboratory were about 10 times lower than those obtained from the active corral and six times lower that those found with the FDEM. At the Beit Nir site, high values were found in the center of the active corral: 300 mS/m by the laboratory analysis and 130 mS/m by the FDEM. With different sources of manure, cattle and sheep have shown similar patterns of electrical conductivity (EC) obtained in the sub-soil layers between active and abandoned corrals: High in the center and low at the edge and outside the corral and decreased with depth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number382
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Manure accumulation Please add: This research received no external funding
  • Rangeland degradation
  • Sheep corrals
  • Soil pollution
  • Sub-surface conductivity


Dive into the research topics of 'Frequency domain electromagnetic method (FDEM) as a tool to study contamination at the sub-soil layer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this