Water Movement Through Soils

Browsing through YouTube, I came across this amazing video from 1950 on the topic of water movement in soils. 

It’s 24 minutes long and it’s not really necessary to watch the whole thing, but it is actually pretty interesting and disproves one of the most common drainage “solutions” we come across: putting gravel or soil beneath paving to aid drainage (it won’t work!).

Top image Flickr credit: Oregon DOT


  1. Great video.
    Really counter-intuitive for someone who is not a specialist in soil science. I mean from fine to coarse you would say that water would go more loose, but it doesn’t to be the case. A good lesson to understand the dynamics of water in soil. Thanks.

  2. Mike D

    Regarding your comment about pavement drainage ‘not working’, I don’t think you’re correctly interpreting the purpose and construction of that aggregate layer.

    • Leda Marritz

      There are definitely different reasons for placing an aggregate layer below soil – but one of them that we hear often is a mistaken belief that it will aid drainage.

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