C1. Macro-scale Evidence of Pore-scale Processes: The Promise and Peril seen in 40 years of Studying Fingered Flow

Other Titles

Fingered flow in coarse textured media has long been studied as an exemplar system for exhibiting the interplay between gravity and capillarity at easily observable scales. Early work by Parlange and Hill explained the system using linear stability analysis of solutions to the Richard’s equation, and were able to explain the relationship between finger width and media texture. These results were largely confirmed by the doctoral work of Glass, under the supervision of Parlange and Steenhuis. However thereafter several tests of the fundamental behavioral dependencies have been seen as being inconsistent with the theory, and have remained actively examined. Recent strategies to explain fingered flow behavior have seemingly given up on mechanistic physics and invoked new sources of hydrodynamic potential based on curvature of the wetting front. Others attribute the results to an expression of time-dependency in the soil characteristic curve. This talk presents highlights of this history illustrating the outstanding issues in this field, as well as pointing out the remarkable insights and conundrums that this easily-seen behavior has evoked over the 40 years since being reported in the literature.

Journal / Series
Volume & Issue
Once downloaded, these high definition QuickTime videos may be played using a computer video player with H.264 codec, 1280x720 pixels, millions of colors, AAC audio at 44100Hz and 29.97 frames per second. The data rate is 5Mbps. File sizes are on the order of 600-900 MB. (Other formats may be added later.) Free QuickTime players for Macintosh and Window computers may be located using a Google search on QuickTime. The DVD was produced by J. Robert Cooke.
Date Issued
Internet-First University Press
Effective Date
Expiration Date
Union Local
Number of Workers
Committee Chair
Committee Co-Chair
Committee Member
Degree Discipline
Degree Name
Degree Level
Related Version
Related DOI
Related To
Related Part
Based on Related Item
Has Other Format(s)
Part of Related Item
Related To
Related Publication(s)
Link(s) to Related Publication(s)
Link(s) to Reference(s)
Previously Published As
Government Document
Other Identifiers
Rights URI
video/moving image
Accessibility Feature
Accessibility Hazard
Accessibility Summary
Link(s) to Catalog Record