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Closed Access item Relations between interrill erosion processes and sediment particle size distribution in a semiarid Mediterranean area of SE of Spain

Authors:Martínez-Mena García, M. Dolores
Castillo Sánchez, Victor Manuel
Albaladejo Montoro, Juan
Keywords:Interrill erosion, Erosion mechanisms, Sediment size distribution, Semiarid area
Issue Date:15-Jun-2002
Publisher:Elsevier
Citation:Geomorphology 45(3-4): 261-275 (2002)
Abstract:Erosion and sediment characteristics were measured using simulated rainfall on two cultivated soils of contrasting lithology (Quaternary calcareous colluvium and Tertiary marls) in a semiarid Mediterranean area of SE Spain. Two rainfall intensities, high (56.0±2.4 mm h−1) and medium (31.4±1.4 mm h−1), were used in order to know the mechanisms involved in each selected condition. For each simulated event, runoff and sediment were sampled at 1-min intervals on a 1-m wide by 2-m long erosion plot. The erosion rate was calculated as the total amount of soil lost divided by the time period of the test. The duration of the test was that needed to reach steady state runoff, an average time of 24.5 min for Quaternary calcareous colluvium and 17.7 min for Tertiary marls. The size distribution of the transported sediment in the field (effective size distribution) was compared with equivalent measurements of the same samples after chemical and mechanical dispersion (ultimate size distribution) to investigate the detachment and transport mechanisms involved in sediment mobilisation. The results showed that the soil type determined the hydrological response, regardless of the rainfall intensity. The erosional response was, however, determined by the rainfall and soil surface characteristics. In Quaternary calcareous colluvial soils, the predominant erosion process depended on the rainfall intensity, with a prevailing detachment-limited condition in high-intensity events and prevailing transport-limited conditions in those events of medium intensity. These differences in the main erosion processes were reflected in the size of the transported material and in the change in sediment size within the storm. Thus, a time-dependent size distribution of the eroded material (decreasing coarse fractions and increasing fine fractions with runoff time) was observed for high-intensity events. In medium-intensity events, on the other hand, the time-independent size distribution of the eroded material indicated transport-limited erosion. Due to the rapid surface crusting on the Tertiary marl soil, no differences in the main erosion processes or in the sediment size distribution occurred for the different rainfall intensities tested. The erosion of marl soils was determined mainly by the limited quantity of available sediment. The effective size of material was a more sensitive parameter than the ultimate size of the sediment to study the way in which the sediment was transported.
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0169-555X(01)00158-1
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/16553
ISSN:0169-555X
Appears in Collections:(CEBAS) Artículos

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