Definition of Infiltration and Factors that Affect Infiltration

In this article, I shall be sharing with you the definition of infiltration and factors that affect infiltration; it is good to know that definition of Infiltration is the same as Infiltration Definition, the two phrases are interchangeable.
Infiltration has different definitions based on the different areas of study where it can be used; here I will be giving the general definition on infiltration and the definition of infiltration in water cycle study.
This article about the definition of infiltration and factors that affect infiltration shall be made to be as concise as possible; in a nature suitable for academic and other purposes.

Definition of Infiltration and Factors that Affect Infiltration

Definition of Infiltration

In simple words; Infiltration is said to be the passage of liquid through a permeable medium in other to filter out its solid and suspended impurities, but here we will be talking about the definition of infiltration with general respect to the environmental water cycle.

Definition of Infiltration in Water Cycle

In water cycle, Infiltration is defined as the process by which water on the ground surface enters the soil through sand pores during precipitation, when precipitation occurs, before the run-off, water first infiltrates into the soil. When the soil has absorbed a reasonable amount of water, the infiltration rate becomes lesser and water starts to fill up on the surface of the soil. The filling up of water on the surface of the soil is what results to surface run-off in the water cycle.

Factors that Affect Infiltration

  • Water Flow Supply
  • Soil Type
  • Soil Coverings
  • Soil Topography
  • Initial Soil Conditions

Water Flow Supply

Water flow supply simply means the rate at which water comes from a water supply, the rate at which infiltration occurs can be greatly affected by the speed and rate of the water flow supply.
When there is a sudden heavy downpour of rain, there is little infiltration before the run-off, this is solely because the rate water flow supply is very high, also when there is a slow but steady down pour, you notice that a lot of water infiltrates into the soil before run-off; that happens because the water flow supply is low.

Soil Type

Different soil types have different compatibility levels and this is a big factor that affects infiltration, soil types with low compactibility levels are more permeable and this makes the infiltration rate high for those type of soil.
A good example of soil type with low compatibility is the sandy soil which is popularly known for its looseness( low soil compactibility); the rate of infiltration in sandy soil is incredibly high in comparison to the soil types with high compactibilty levels of which the best example to give is the clay soil, which can be easily identified for its high compactibility.

Soil Coverings

Soil covering; which includes covercropping and mulching is also one of the factors affecting infiltration, this is because as the water flows over the ground the soil coverings prevent it from flowing fast acrros the surface of the soil; this results in higher infiltration rate and also leads to water-logging
This covering however affects infiltration but positively and negatively; when there is a light and short rainfall the coverings reduce the amount of water that reaches the ground thereby helping reduce infiltration, but when there is a heavy of prolonged rainfall the coverings prevent the fast flow of the water thereby helping increase the infiltration rate.

Soil Topography 

Soil topography is among the major factors affecting infiltration; the topography of the soil varies from place to place and this greatly changes the rate of infiltration in the different areas.
A slopy area has low infiltration because slopes encourage the flow of water which causes reduction in infiltration, while a soil with an even surface encourages infiltration; the highest level of infiltration in the world are recorded in flooded vallies or pits as the water has no escape route.

Initial Soil Conditions

The initial conditions of the soil is one of the factors also affecting infiltration, soil condition is primarily affected by different seasons and the climate of the area of study; sometimes it can be affected by the weather conditions; soil conditions includes; level of wetness and dryness, leach rate, et.c, all this affects infiltration.

A wet soil encourages early infiltration of water but allows only for a small volume of water, while a dry and hard soil has very low infiltration rates but high infiltration volume, soil with high leach rate encourages infiltration more than soil with low leach rate.

definition-of-infiltration-and-factors-that-affects infiltration
rainwater infiltration into the soil


Above is a run-down on the definition of infiltration and factors that affect infiltration, this article has been written in the most comprehensive, formal but enjoyable manner and it is our pleasure if you gained the knowledge you were after, suggestions are accepted in the comments.


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