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Hydrology 2016, 3(3), 27;

Conditions for the Occurrence of Slaking and Other Disaggregation Processes under Rainfall

INRA, UR0272, UR Science du sol, F-45075 Orléans, France
Soil Science Department, Universidade Federal do Piauí, Campus Professora Cinobelina Elvas (CPCE/UFPI), Bom Jesus, PI 64900-000, Brazil
Departamento de Ciência do Solo, Escola Superior de Agricultura ‘‘Luiz de Queiroz’’, Universidade de São Paulo (ESALQ/USP), Piracicaba, SP 13418-900, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presently at: Inra, Laboratoire Sols et Environnement, UMR 1120, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, F-54518, France
Academic Editors: Thomas Iserloh and Artemi Cerdà
Received: 26 April 2016 / Revised: 25 June 2016 / Accepted: 30 June 2016 / Published: 5 July 2016
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Under rainfall conditions, aggregates may suffer breakdown by different mechanisms. Slaking is a very efficient breakdown mechanism. However, its occurrence under rainfall conditions has not been demonstrated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of slaking under rain. Two soils with silt loam (SL) and clay loam (CL) textures were analyzed. Two classes of aggregates were utilized: 1–3 mm and 3–5 mm. The aggregates were submitted to stability tests and to high intensity (90 mm·h−1) and low intensity (28 mm·h−1) rainfalls, and different kinetic energy impacts (large and small raindrops) using a rainfall simulator. The fragment size distributions were determined both after the stability tests and rainfall simulations, with the calculation of the mean weighted diameter (MWD). After the stability tests the SL presented smaller MWDs for all stability tests when compared to the CL. In both soils the lowest MWD was obtained using the fast wetting test, showing they were sensitive to slaking. For both soils and the two aggregate classes evaluated, the MWDs were recorded from the early beginning of the rainfall event under the four rainfall conditions. The occurrence of slaking in the evaluated soils was not verified under the simulated rainfall conditions studied. The early disaggregation was strongly related to the cumulative kinetic energy, advocating for the occurrence of mechanical breakdown. Because slaking requires a very high wetting rate on initially dry aggregates, it seems unlikely to occur under field conditions, except perhaps for furrow irrigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: aggregate stability; simulated rainfall; aggregate breakdown; slaking aggregate stability; simulated rainfall; aggregate breakdown; slaking

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Darboux, F.; Dalla Rosa, J.; Cooper, M. Conditions for the Occurrence of Slaking and Other Disaggregation Processes under Rainfall. Hydrology 2016, 3, 27.

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