The main difference between infiltration and percolation is that infiltration occurs in the topmost zone of soil whereas percolation occurs when water passes through soil and rock.
Infiltration and percolation are two types of downward movements of water. Infiltration occurs fast while percolation occurs slowly.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Infiltration
– Definition, Characteristics, Importance
2. What is Percolation
– Definition, Characteristics, Importance
3. Similarities Between Infiltration and Percolation
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Infiltration and Percolation
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Infiltration
Infiltration is the downward entry of water into the surface of soil and rock. When rain hits the ground, water may either infilter into the soil or run off across the ground. Generally, infiltration is a faster movement of water. And, the infiltration rate is the rate at which the soil absorbs water. The infiltration rate is measured in inches/millimeters per hour. An instrument called the infiltrometer can take the measurement. However, infiltration capacity refers to the maximum amount of rainwater that can enter the ground in a given time. When the maximum rainwater is reached, the soil becomes saturated. Another important feature is that infiltration is a surface phenomenon.
Furthermore, infiltration is the process of water on the ground surface entering the soil. Infiltration capacity is the maximum rate of infiltration. But infiltration capacity decreases when the soil moisture content is high. When the precipitation rate exceeds the infiltration rate, water runoff across the ground. In general, gravity, capillary forces, adsorption, and osmosis are the multiple factors that cause infiltration.
What is Percolation
Percolation is the downward movement of water through soil and rock. Gravity and capillary forces are the multiple factors that drive percolation. After infiltration, water starts to move downward through the soil and rock passing different layers of the ground. The initial surface entry of water is called infiltration. Percolation occurs underground and the underground downward movement of water is called percolation. Since water moves through different soil layers, the movement of water is slow in percolation.
Percolation rate is the speed at which the water moves through different soil layers. Therefore, it is the rate of percolation, the speed at which the percolation occurs. Lysimeter is the instrument to measure percolation rate and it measures inches per hour. However, the main importance of percolation is that it replenishes groundwater in aquifers. Here, aquifers are responsible for holding groundwater in the saturation zone.
Similarities Between Infiltration and Percolation
- Infiltration and percolation are two types of downward movements of water.
- They are methods of filtering rainwater by the soil and rocks.
Difference Between Infiltration and Percolation
Infiltration refers to the process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil while percolation refers to the slow movement of water through the pores in soil or permeable rock.
Infiltration is the downward movement of water into the soil while percolation is the downward movement of water into the soil and rock.
Infiltration occurs faster while percolation occurs slowly.
Moreover, infiltration occurs on the surface and subsurface of the soil while percolation occurs underground.
Infiltration can be measured by an infiltrometer while percolation can be measured by a lysimeter.
Infiltration replenishes soil water deficiency while percolation replenishes underground aquifers.
Furthermore, infiltration of anesthesia is an example of infiltration in medicine while coffee percolator is an example of percolation.
In brief, infiltration and percolation are two downward movements of water in soil or rock. Generally, infiltration is a faster movement of water through the soil. It also occurs at the surface of the soil. However, it replenishes the water deficiency of the top layers of the soil. Percolation, on the other hand, is the downward movement of water through soil and rock, occurring in underground layers of soil. In addition, it replenishes the underground aquifers. Therefore, the main difference between infiltration and percolation is the type of water movement.
- “Infiltration and the Water Cycle Completed.” U.S. Geological Survey
- “Percolation.” An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics,