The relationship of soil loss by interrill erosion to slope gradient

Author: Fox, Dennis M.; Bryan, Rorke B.

Description: The influence of slope gradient on erosion rate differs for rill and interrill conditions. Rill erosion increases substantially more with increasing slope gradient than interrill erosion. Combining the two erosion processes into single data sets led to the development of regression equations (e.g., USLE) that overestimated the effect of slope gradient on erosion rate for low slope gradients and short slopes. This study investigated the change in interrill erosion rate with slope gradient and examined its relationship to runoff velocity. A sandy loam (grey brown luvisol) was packed in 100x40x10 cm3 soil trays and subjected to simulated rainfall for a period of 75 min. Rain-impacted flow erosion and downslope splash were monitored, and runoff velocity measurements were made at three positions within the flume. Downslope splash erosion never accounted for more than 20% of the total erosion. Rain-impacted flow erosion peaked early in the simulation then decreased to a constant rate; erosion rate was therefore probably detachment-limited. For a constant runoff rate, rain-impacted flow erosion increased roughly with the square root of slope gradient, as did the runoff velocity. Soil loss was correlated (0.81) with runoff velocity under the experimental conditions.

Subject headings: Soil loss; Interrill erosion; Slope gradient

Publication year: 2000

Journal or book title: CATENA

Volume: 38

Issue: 3

Pages: 211-222

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Serial number: 3281

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