United States Department of Agriculture
In the mound-and-depression microtopography of the northern hardwood forest, leaves are blown off the mounds and collect in the depressions. This influence of microtopography on leaf accumulation is responsible for much of the variation in humus depth; and this, in turn, affects the formation and depth of soil frost.
A water-filled plastic tube buried vertically in the soil in a copper casing permitted repeated observation of frost depth without damaging the sampling site. The device is simple and inexpensive and provides data on soil freezing at least as accurate as direct observation by digging through frozen soil.