Spatial Interactions of Erosion Processes in a Semi-arid, Complex-terrain Watershed

Authors: Tongxin Zhu*, University of Minnesota
Topics: Geomorphology, Water Resources and Hydrology, Arid Regions
Keywords: Watershed, spatial interactions, rainwash, gully erosion, mass movement, tunnel erosion, Loess Plateau
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The occurrence of different erosion processes in a watershed is often not independent of each other, but spatially interacted. An understanding of such spatial interactions is a prerequisite for effective design of comprehensive soil erosion control measures in a watershed.

In this paper, the spatial interaction of four different erosion processes (rainwash, gully erosion, tunnel erosion and mass movement) are investigated in a semi-arid complex-terrain watershed in the Loess Plateau of China. First, by integrating the runoff and sediment data measured from the nested catchments and open plots, I will analyse how flows generating in the upper catchment cause erosion in the middle and lower catchments, and how runoff generating from the upper slopes causes tunnel erosion on the lower slopes. Second, field surveys showed that tunnels can develop in the drainage areas above gully headcuts, at the gully bottoms, and on the sidewalls of gullies. Mass movements may occur at the headcuts and sidewalls of gullies as well. Through field investigations, I will examine how different types of mass movements are associated with the development of different type of gullies as well as how tunnel formation affects gully development and mass movements, and vice versa. Finally, the complex relationships among rainwash, mass movements, tunnel formation, and gully development will be synthesized.

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