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Hydrological and erosional response to natural rainfall in a semi-arid area of south-east Spain

AutorMartínez-Mena García, M. Dolores ; Castillo Sánchez, Victor Manuel; Albaladejo Montoro, Juan
Palabras claveSoil erosion
Mediterranean areas
Fecha de publicación13-mar-2001
EditorJohn Wiley & Sons
CitaciónHydrological Processes 15(4): 557-571 (2001)
ResumenA better knowledge of soil erosion by water is essential for planning effective soil and water conservation practices in semi-arid Mediterranean environments. The special climatic and hydrological characteristics of these areas, however, make accurate soil loss predictions difficult, particularly in the absence of minimal data. Two zero-order experimental microcatchments (328-759 m2), representative of an extensive semi-arid watershed with a high potential erosion risk in the south-east of Spain, were selected and monitored for 3 years (1991-93) in order to provide information on the hydrological and erosional response. A pluviogram and hydrograph recorded data at 1-min intervals during each storm, after which the soil loss was collected and the particle size of the sediment was analysed. Runoff coefficients of about 9% and soil losses of between 84·83 and 298·9 g m-2 year-1 were observed in the area. Rapid response times (geometric mean values lower than 2 h) and low runoff thresholds (mean values between 3·5 to 5·9 mm) were the norm in the experimental areas. A rain intensity of over 15 mm h-1 was considered as erosive rainfall in these areas because of the total soil loss and the transport capacity of the overland flow. Differences in pore-size distribution explained the different hydrological responses observed between areas. The erosional response was more complex and basically seemed to be determined by soil aggregate stability and topographical properties. A greater proportion of finer particles in the eroded material than in the soil matrix indicated selective erosion and the transport of finer material.
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hyp.146
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