The Effect of Raindrops Impact on Soil Loss from Cultivated Farrows in Different Soils

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Soil Science Department, Agriculture Faculty, Zanjan, Iran

2 Soil Science Department, Agriculture Faculty, University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran


Poor vegetation cover on the surface and lower content of soil organic matter are main factors influencing the sensitivity of soils to erosion from cultivation strips in semi-arid regions. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of raindrops impact on runoff and soil loss from rills in different soil textures in the semi-arid region. Soil samples were taken from dominant soil textures in hillslopes affected by rill erosion in Zanjan province. For this purpose, three soils with different textures (clay loam, silty loam and sandy loam) were examined with three replications in a flume with 1 m in length and 0.6 m in width and 10% slope under simulated rainfall. Each soil sample was subjected under direct and non-direct raindrop impact with an intensity of 50 mm/h for 30 minutes. Runoff production and soil loss from the rills were measured at a time-scale of 5-min to reach a steady state runoff flow. The results showed that runoff production and soil loss were affected by raindrop impact (p < 0.01). The highest and the lowest impact of raindrops on runoff production were found in clay loam (2.95 times) and sandy loam (2.02 times), respectively. In terms of soil loss, sandy loam was the most sensitive to raindrop impact (3.66 times), whereas clay loam was the most resistant soil (2.47 times) to raindrop impact. An increasing trend was observed in runoff production during rainfall time, while soil loss varied irregularly in the rills. This study revealed that runoff production is significantly affected by the distribution of particle size, while soil loss is remarkably dependent on the aggregate stability. Therefore, maintaining soil surface cover plays an effective role in preventing soil loss by raindrop impact in the rainfed furrows.


Main Subjects

An, J., Zheng, F., Lu, J., and Li, G. (2012). Investigating the role of raindrop impact on hydrodynamic mechanism of soil erosion under simulated rainfall conditions. Soil Science, 177(8), 517-526.
Blake, G. R., and Hartge, K. H. (1986). Particle density. Methods of soil analysis: Part 1 physical and mineralogical methods, 5, 377-382.
Bouyoucos, G. J. (1962). Hydrometer method improved for making particle size analyses of soils 1. Agronomy Journal, 54(5), 464-465.
Chen, X. Y., Huang, Y. H., Zhao, Y., Mo, B., Mi, H. X., and Huang, C. H. (2017). Analytical method for determining rill detachment rate of purple soil as compared with that of loess soil. Journal of Hydrology, 549, 236-243.
Chen, X. Y., Zhao, Y., Mi, H. X., and Mo, B. (2016). Estimating rill erosion process from eroded morphology in flume experiments by volume replacement method. Catena, 136, 135-140.
Choo, H., Park, K. H., Won, J., and Burns, S. E. (2018). Resistance of Coarse-grained Particles against Raindrop Splash and Its Relation with Splash Erosion. Soil and Tillage Research, 184, 1-10.
El Kateb, H., Zhang, H., Zhang, P., and Mosandl, R. (2013). Soil erosion and surface runoff on different vegetation covers and slope gradients: A field experiment in Southern Shaanxi Province, China. Catena, 105, 1-10.
Foroumadi, M., and Vaezi, A. R. (2017). Physical Degradation and Particle Detachment Capacity of Rill in Relation to Rainfall Intensity and Raindrop Impact in a Marl Soil. JWSS-Isfahan University of Technology, 21(2), 263-277. (In Persian)
Hoyos, N. (2005). Spatial modeling of soil erosion potential in a tropical watershed of the Colombian Andes. Catena, 63(1), 85-108.
Kidron, G. J. (2007). Millimeter-scale microrelief affecting runoff yield over microbiotic crust in the Negev Desert. Catena, 70(2), 266-273.
Knapen, A., Poesen, J., Govers, G., Gyssels, G., and Nachtergaele, J. (2007). Resistance of soils to concentrated flow erosion: A review. Earth-Science Reviews, 80(1-2), 75-109.
Lei, T. W., Zhang, Q. W., Yan, L. J., Zhao, J., and Pan, Y. H. (2008). A rational method for estimating erodibility and critical shear stress of an eroding rill. Geoderma, 144(3-4), 628-633.
Li, J. C., Liu, Q. Q., and Zhou, J. F. (2003). Environmental mechanics research in China. Advances in Applied Mechanics, 39, 217-306.
Li, P., Li, Z. B., Zheng, L. Y., and Lu, K. (2005). Comparisons of dynamic mechanics of soil erosion and sediment yield by runoff on Loess slope. Journal of Soil Water Conservation, 19, 66-69. (In Chinese)
Lu, J., Zheng, F., Li, G., Bian, F., and An, J. (2016). The effects of raindrop impact and runoff detachment on hillslope soil erosion and soil aggregate loss in the Mollisol region of Northeast China. Soil and Tillage Research, 161, 79-85.
Ma, R. M., Li, Z. X., Cai, C. F., and Wang, J. G. (2014). The dynamic response of splash erosion to aggregate mechanical breakdown through rainfall simulation events in Ultisols (subtropical China). Catena, 121, 279-287.
Mc Kenzie, N., Coughlan, K., and Cresswell, H. (2002). Soil physical measurement and interpretation for land evaluation (Vol. 5). Csiro Publishing.
Mirzaee, S., & Ghorbani-Dashtaki, S. (2018). Deriving and evaluating hydraulics and detachment models of rill erosion for some calcareous soils. Catena, 164, 107-115.
Porto, P., Walling, D. E., and Capra, A. (2014). Using 137Cs and 210Pbex measurements and conventional surveys to investigate the relative contributions of interrill/rill and gully erosion to soil loss from a small cultivated catchment in Sicily. Soil and Tillage Research, 135, 18-27.
Qin, C., Zheng, F., Wilson, G. V., Zhang, X. J., and Xu, X. (2019). Apportioning contributions of individual rill erosion processes and their interactions on loessial hillslopes. Catena, 181, 104099.
Romero, C. C., Stroosnijder, L., and Baigorria, G. A. (2007). Interrill and rill erodibility in the northern Andean Highlands. Catena, 70(2), 105-113.
Rouhipour, H., Farzaneh, H., and Asadi, H. (2004). The effect of aggregate stability indices on soil erodibility factors using rainfall simulator. Iranian Journal of Range and Desert Research, 11 (3), 236-254. (In Persian)
Sadeghian, N., and Vaezi, A. (2019). Selectivity of Particles through Rill Erosion in Different Soil Textures. JWSS-Isfahan University of Technology, 23(2), 1-12. (In Persian)
Sajjadi, S. A., and Mahmoodabadi, M. (2015). Aggregate breakdown and surface seal development influenced by rain intensity, slope gradient and soil particle size. Solid Earth, 6(1), 311-321.
Vaezi, A. R., Ahmadi, M., and Cerdà, A. (2017). Contribution of raindrop impact to the change of soil physical properties and water erosion under semi-arid rainfalls. Science of the Total Environment, 583, 382-392.
Vaezi, A. R., and Vatani, A. (2015). Determining Rill Erodibility in Some Soils in Zanjan Province Under Simulated Rainfall. JWSS-Isfahan University of Technology, 19(71), 59-68. (In Persian)
Vaezi, A. R., Gharehdaghli, H., and Marzvan, S. (2016). The role of slope steepness and soil properties in rill erosion in the hillslope ( A case study: Taham Cgai catchment, NW Zanjan). Journal of Water and Soil Conservation, 23 (4), 83-100. (In Persian)
Vaezi, A., Heidari M. (2018). The Effect of wheat etraw on flow characteristics and rill erosion in wheat rainfed field. Iran Soil and Water Research. 50(1), 54-63. ( in Persian).
Vahabi J and Mahdian MH. (2008). Rainfall simulation for the study of the effects of efficient factors on runoff rate. Current Science (95), 1439-1445
Valettea, G., S. Prevosta and L. Lucasa. (2006). A simulation of soil surface degradation by rainfall. Computer and Graphics, 30, 494-506.
Van Oost, K., Govers, G., De Alba, S., and Quine, T. A. (2006). Tillage erosion: a review of controlling factors and implications for soil quality. Progress in Physical Geography, 30(4), 443-466.
Vatani, A., and Vaezi, A. R. (2013). Soil loss in rills and its temporal variation during rainfall in different soil textures. Journal of Soil and Water, 24(3), 84-92. (In Persian)
Walkley, A., and Black, I. A. (1934). An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter, and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science, 37(1), 29-38.
Wirtz, S., Seeger, M., and Ries, J. B. (2012). Field experiments for understanding and quantification of rill erosion processes. Catena, 91, 21-34.
Xu, Z., Gao, J. E., Zhao, C. H., and Han, H. (2010). Effects of raindrop impact on runoff and sediment transport of the slope. Journal of Soil Water Conservation, 24(6), 20Y23. (In Chinese)
Yoder, R. E. (1936). A direct method of aggregate analysis of soils and a study of the physical nature of erosion losses 1. Agronomy Journal, 28(5), 337-351.
Zhang, X. J., and Wang, Z. L. (2017). Interrill soil erosion processes on steep slopes. Journal of Hydrology, 548, 652-664.