Special Issue "Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Geochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Larry Stetler

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD 57701, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Geological Engineering, Erosion Processes and Mechanics, Weathering and Sedimentology, Landform Evolution, Surface and Ground Water

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Geosciences will document current state-of-knowledge and recent research advances regarding the mechanics of erosion and threshold variations occurring as functions of climatic and human factors that, in many instances, results ultimately in landform alterations.

Of all forces acting on the Earth’s surface, both wind and water play a fundamental role in movement of sediment and shaping the landscape. Climatic and geologic controls often are dominant in weathering processes that liberates debris that becomes available to erosion and transport. During the Holocene, human impacts have become more prominent and in specific settings dominate over natural functions and rates. As human impacts rise, and climate change scenarios present dramatic shifts to habitable and agrarian zones, it is critical that we fully understand the magnitude of changes in erosion thresholds that will result, and our ability to predict potential landscape alterations.

Manuscripts published in this Special Issue of Geosciences include critical reviews of our current understanding of processes in the broad topics of both eolian and fluvial erosion sciences. Topical papers report relevant and current research arenas that are at the forefront of developing methodologies, physical-based modeling for prediction, and climatic or human impacts leading to erosion threshold variations, and ultimately, rates of change in landform evolution.

The Special Issue is open for submission of manuscripts documenting original research in one of the following, or closely-related fields:

  • Eolian dynamics, processes of transport and deposition
  • Fluvial erosion, river processes, sediment entrainment and wash over land surfaces
  • Erosion measurements in natural and anthropogenic settings
  • Physically-based models for erosion prediction
  • Climate change and resulting changes in erosion thresholds
  • Agricultural practice/modeling for erosion reduction
Prof. Larry Stetler
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Erosion Processes and Mechanics
  • Weathering and Transport
  • Measurements
  • Landform Evolution
  • Climatic and Human Impacts
  • Physical Models

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Role of Hydraulic Connectivity and Management on Soil Aggregate Size and Stability in the Clear Creek Watershed, Iowa
Geosciences 2018, 8(12), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8120470
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
The role of tillage practices on soil aggregate properties has been mainly addressed at the pedon scale (i.e., soilscape scale) by treating landscape elements as disconnected. However, there is observed heterogeneity in aggregate properties along flowpaths, suggesting that landscape scale hydraulic processes are [...] Read more.
The role of tillage practices on soil aggregate properties has been mainly addressed at the pedon scale (i.e., soilscape scale) by treating landscape elements as disconnected. However, there is observed heterogeneity in aggregate properties along flowpaths, suggesting that landscape scale hydraulic processes are also important. This study examines this supposition using field, laboratory and modeling analysis to assess aggregate size and stability along flowpaths under different management conditions: (1) tillage-induced abrasion effects on aggregate size were evaluated with the dry mean weight diameter (DMWD); (2) raindrop impact effects were evaluated with small macroaggregate stability (SMAGGSTAB) using rainfall simulators; and (3) these aggregate proxies were studied in the context of connectivity through the excess bed shear stress (δ), quantified using a physically-based landscape model. DMWD and SMAGGSTAB decreased along the flowpaths for all managements, and a negative correspondence between the proxies and δ was observed. δ captured roughness effects on connectivity along the flowpaths: highest connectivity was noted for parallel-ridge-till flowpaths, where δ ranged from 0–8.2 Pa, and lowest connectivity for contour-ridge-till flowpaths, where δ ranged from 0–1.1 Pa. High tillage intensity likely led to an increase in aggregate susceptibility to hydraulic forcing, reflected in the higher gradients of aggregate size and stability trendlines with respect to δ. Finally, a linear relationship between DMWD and SMAGGSTAB was established. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessArticle Mud Flow Reconstruction by Means of Physical Erosion Modeling, High-Resolution Radar-Based Precipitation Data, and UAV Monitoring
Geosciences 2018, 8(11), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8110427
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 3 October 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Storm events and accompanying heavy rain endanger the silty soils of the fertile and intensively-used agricultural landscape of the Saxon loess province in the European loess belt. In late spring 2016, persistent weather conditions with repeated and numerous storm events triggered flash floods, [...] Read more.
Storm events and accompanying heavy rain endanger the silty soils of the fertile and intensively-used agricultural landscape of the Saxon loess province in the European loess belt. In late spring 2016, persistent weather conditions with repeated and numerous storm events triggered flash floods, landslides, and mud flows, and caused severe devastation to infrastructure and settlements throughout Germany. In Saxony, the rail service between Germany and the Czech Republic was disrupted twice because of two mud flows within eight days. This interdisciplinary study aims to reconstruct the two mud flows by means of high-resolution physical erosion modeling, high-resolution, radar-based precipitation data, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle monitoring. Therefore, high-resolution, radar-based precipitation data products are used to assess the two storm events which triggered the mud flows in this unmonitored area. Subsequently, these data are used as meteorological input for the soil erosion model EROSION 3D to reconstruct and predict mud flows in the form of erosion risk maps. Finally, the model results are qualitatively validated by orthophotos generated from images from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle monitoring and Structure from Motion Photogrammetry. High-resolution, radar-based precipitation data reveal heavy to extreme storm events for both days. Erosion risk maps show erosion und deposition patterns and source areas as in reality, depending on the radar-based precipitation product. Consequently, reconstruction of the mud flows by these interdisciplinary methods is possible. Therefore, the development of an early warning system for soil erosion in agricultural landscapes by means of E 3D and high-resolution, radar-based precipitation forecasting data is certainly conceivable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessArticle Parameterization for EROSION-3D Model under Simulated Rainfall Conditions in Lower Shivaliks of India
Geosciences 2018, 8(11), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8110396
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 20 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract
The Shivalik foothills of northwestern India are very prone to soil erosion by water due to undulating slopes, highly erodible soils and high intensity rainstorm events during monsoon season. Physically based soil erosion modeling is seen as viable method for planning of measurements [...] Read more.
The Shivalik foothills of northwestern India are very prone to soil erosion by water due to undulating slopes, highly erodible soils and high intensity rainstorm events during monsoon season. Physically based soil erosion modeling is seen as viable method for planning of measurements to reduce damages done by soil erosion. Nevertheless, parametrization of such models is a major challenge for large inaccessible areas. Several methods do exist for the estimation of the input parameters skin factor, surface roughness and resistance to erosion for the physically based soil erosion model EROSION-3D. Four rainfall experiments, each including dry and wet run, were conducted on different land use conditions on a research farm of the Regional Research Station Ballowal Saunkhri to test estimation methods. Modeling parameters were determined from these experiments. Parameter estimation by two methods for experimental conditions produced values in close range to experimentally determined values for resistance to erosion and surface roughness. Therefore, existing estimation methods are considered to be applicable for the conditions of the Shivalik mountains, except for skin factor. A first modeling with EROSION-3D using preliminary data of a small example catchment shows uncertainties resulting from range of determined and estimated soil parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Distributed Hydrologic Model for a Region with Fragipan Soils to Study Impacts of Climate on Soil Moisture: A Case Study on the Obion River Watershed in West Tennessee
Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100364
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 25 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 29 September 2018
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Abstract
Previous land surface modeling efforts to predict and understand water budgets in the U.S. Southeast for soil water management have struggled to characterize parts of the region due to an extensive presence of fragipan soils for which current calibration approaches are not adept [...] Read more.
Previous land surface modeling efforts to predict and understand water budgets in the U.S. Southeast for soil water management have struggled to characterize parts of the region due to an extensive presence of fragipan soils for which current calibration approaches are not adept at handling. This study presents a physically based approach for calibrating fragipan-dominated regions based on the “effective” soil moisture capacity concept, which accounts for the dynamic perched saturation zone effects created by the low hydraulic capacities of the fragipan layers. The approach is applied to the Variable Infiltration Capacity model to develop a hydrologic model of the Obion River Watershed (ORW), TN, which has extensive fragipan coverage. Model calibration was performed using observed streamflow data, as well as evapotranspiration and soil moisture data, to ensure correct partitioning of surface and subsurface fluxes. Estimated Nash-Sutcliffe coefficients for the various sub-drainage areas within ORW were all greater than 0.65, indicating good model performance. The model results suggest that ORW has a high responsivity and high resilience. Despite forecasted temperature increases, the simulation results suggest that water budget trends in the ORW are unlikely to change significantly in the near future up to 2050 due to sufficient precipitation amounts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessArticle Coupled Model of Bank Erosion and Meander Evolution for Cohesive Riverbanks
Geosciences 2018, 8(10), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8100359
Received: 17 July 2018 / Revised: 17 September 2018 / Accepted: 19 September 2018 / Published: 22 September 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, a physics-based model that couples a bank erosion model with a meander evolution model is developed and evaluated. The physics-based bank erosion model considers the cantilever failure mechanism with slump blocks and decomposition effects. Moreover, bank accretion was considered using [...] Read more.
In this paper, a physics-based model that couples a bank erosion model with a meander evolution model is developed and evaluated. The physics-based bank erosion model considers the cantilever failure mechanism with slump blocks and decomposition effects. Moreover, bank accretion was considered using critical values of time required for landing, shear stresses and water depths. Two cases were tested. The first case consists of a hypothetical small-scale channel with cohesive riverbanks. Cross sections in the straight and curved part of the channel were compared to evaluate the curvature effect. Furthermore, the effect of the bank strength in the plan shape of the channel was tested in this case. The results show that the curvature increases the erosion rate in the outer bank and changes the cross-sectional profile by narrowing and widening the channel width. The plan shape of the channel changed as the bank strength was increased. In the second case, the model is compared with the River meander migration software (RVR meander) and the advantages and limitations of the model are discussed in terms of meander migration plan form and bank erosion processes. The results showed that the presented model is capable of simulating asymmetric bends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessArticle Using Historical Precipitation Patterns to Forecast Daily Extremes of Rainfall for the Coming Decades in Naples (Italy)
Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080293
Received: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 30 July 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (16568 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The coasts of the Italian peninsula have been recently affected by frequent damaging hydrological events driven by intense rainfall and deluges. The internal climatic mechanisms driving rainfall variability that generate these hydrological events in the Mediterranean are not fully understood. We investigated the [...] Read more.
The coasts of the Italian peninsula have been recently affected by frequent damaging hydrological events driven by intense rainfall and deluges. The internal climatic mechanisms driving rainfall variability that generate these hydrological events in the Mediterranean are not fully understood. We investigated the simulation skill of a soft-computing approach to forecast extreme rainfalls in Naples (Italy). An annual series of daily maximum rainfall spanning the period between 1866 and 2016 was used for the design of ensemble projections in order to understand and quantify the uncertainty associated with interannual to interdecadal predictability. A predictable structure was first provided, and then elaborated by exponential smoothing for the purposes of training, validation, and forecast. For the time horizon between 2017 and 2066, the projections indicate a weak increase of daily maximum rainfalls, followed by almost the same pace as it was in the previous three decades, presenting remarkable wavelike variations with durations of more than one year. The forecasted pattern is coupled with variations attributed to internal climate modes, such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessCommunication Measurement and Modeling Air Quality Impacts of Dust Emissions from Unpaved Roads in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas
Geosciences 2018, 8(8), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8080284
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 24 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
Dust emissions from unpaved roads are one of the main pollutants affecting air quality around the world. As part of initial air quality studies in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ), Chiapas, Mexico, urban aeolian emission events from unpaved roads and simple meteorological inputs were measured [...] Read more.
Dust emissions from unpaved roads are one of the main pollutants affecting air quality around the world. As part of initial air quality studies in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (TGZ), Chiapas, Mexico, urban aeolian emission events from unpaved roads and simple meteorological inputs were measured in February 2014 at two different sites located within the city to characterize emissions for representative road conditions and to produce Industrial Source Complex (ISC3) model inputs. Emissions of particulate matter of aerodynamic diameter less than 10 µm (PM10) were determined for eight wind erosion events. PM10 concentrations were measured downwind from sites using a Minivol sampler during February and March 2014. Three high PM10 concentration scenarios, associated with unstable conditions generated by cold fronts (CF) were selected to simulate dust plume dispersion to identify impacted areas. Results show that unpaved roads represent a potential source of dust that affect air quality of urban regions; in this study generating emissions ≥ 1.92 × 10−3 g·m−2·s−1 when winds ≥6 m·s−1 were present. Air pollution events that exceed the Mexico national standard for 24-h average PM10 concentration (≥75 µg·m−3) were observed, impacting different areas in the city, representing a risk to human health. This demonstrates the influence of CF over southern Mexico, generating high PM10 concentrations in urban regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Impacts of Material Engineering Properties on Slope Wash and Stability in Fine-Grained Bedrock Slopes at Fossil-Bearing Sites, Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA
Geosciences 2018, 8(7), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8070267
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
Engineering properties of bedrock materials at Badlands National Park were used to develop models for Park managers to assess slope erosion and stability for fossil resource protection. Six fully instrumented sites were used to document slope conditions. Bedrock consisted of Oligocene White River [...] Read more.
Engineering properties of bedrock materials at Badlands National Park were used to develop models for Park managers to assess slope erosion and stability for fossil resource protection. Six fully instrumented sites were used to document slope conditions. Bedrock consisted of Oligocene White River Group rocks. Bulk erosion rates correlated to grain size with silty-sandy materials producing higher mass erosion rates as a function of the silt-to-clay ratio and plastic index. Data indicated that as grain size decreased, plastic index increased leading to a decrease in erodibility. These parameters were used to construct a grain-size proxy, ψ, that was substituted for grain size, D, in Bagnold’s entrainment equation and provided significant improvement in calculation of critical entrainment velocities for fine-grained materials. Hydraulic analyses of slope and pediment surface processes indicated surface roughness was a controlling factor and materials washed from rough steep slopes were effectively transported across smooth low-angle pediments with slope-to-pediment angle ratios of nearly 6:1. Slope stability modeling of ten slopes produced high factors of safety for all slopes, even under saturated conditions and was attributable to clay cohesion. All results were used to construct models that predicted years until net slope erosion equaled 2.5 cm (1 inch). Using these results, Park managers were advised to visit erosion-prone sites on a 1- to 6-year schedule, based on site geology and slope aspect, to adequately protect critical fossil resources from destruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Where She Blows! A Ten Year Dust Climatology of Western New South Wales Australia
Geosciences 2018, 8(7), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8070232
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 16 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 23 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Dust emissions contribute significantly to atmospheric processes impacting the functioning of various earth and human systems. The question is often asked “how much dust is acceptable?” From a land management perspective, the aim is to reduce the degradation effects of wind erosion over [...] Read more.
Dust emissions contribute significantly to atmospheric processes impacting the functioning of various earth and human systems. The question is often asked “how much dust is acceptable?” From a land management perspective, the aim is to reduce the degradation effects of wind erosion over time. To do this, we need to know the range of dust activity over a long time period and to set a target that shows a reduction in dust activity. In this study, dust activity is described by the number of dust hours per July to June period (dust storm year, DSY). We used the DustWatch network of high resolution particulate matter less than 10 µm (PM10) instruments to characterise the dust climatology for a ten year period for western New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The ten year study period covered one of the driest and wettest periods in south-eastern Australia, providing confidence that we have measurements of extremes of dust (0 to 412 h/DSY), rainfall (98 to 967 mm/DSY), and ground cover (0 to 99% of area/DSY). The dust data are then compared to remotely sensed ground cover and measured rainfall data to develop targets across a rainfall gradient. Quantile regression was used to estimate the number of dust hours for a given DSY rainfall at 21 DustWatch Nodes (DWN). The 75th percentile is used to determine the target number of dust hours for a ten year average DSY. The monitoring network clearly identified locations of high dust activity and changes in dust and ground cover that are associated with rainfall. The dust hour targets for NSW indicated that for every 100 mm increase in DSY rainfall (between 250 and 650 mm) there is a 10 h decrease in dust hours. The dust target enables us to evaluate whether wind erosion is decreasing with time for sites with different rainfall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Soil Erosion Induced by the Introduction of New Pasture Species in a Faxinal Farm of Southern Brazil
Geosciences 2018, 8(5), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences8050166
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The faxinal management system is an endangered agro-silvopastoral system which forms part of the local traditional management in the Paraná federal state (Brazil). Significant changes in land management since the 1970s caused farmers to look for alternatives to increase the productivity of their [...] Read more.
The faxinal management system is an endangered agro-silvopastoral system which forms part of the local traditional management in the Paraná federal state (Brazil). Significant changes in land management since the 1970s caused farmers to look for alternatives to increase the productivity of their farms. The introduction of new pasture species is causing land degradation problems, of which soil erosion is the most important challenge. Therefore, in this study, we assessed the environmental consequences of introducing exotic pasture species, such as Brachiaria decumbens. To achieve this goal, ten erosion plots were installed with exotic and native pastures (Paspalum notatum Flüggé) to quantify soil and water losses in paired plots. Total rainfall per event, soil properties (soil cover, texture, organic matter, bulk density, porosity, and soil penetration resistance), and pasture production were also estimated. Our results showed a decrease in organic matter and porosity and an increase of the bulk density in the exotic pasture plots. Soil erosion monitoring showed higher soil losses for the exotic cultivated plots (359.8 g m−2 or 3.6 mg ha−1) than for the native plots (90.7 g m−2 or 0.91 mg ha−1). The highest percentage of bare soil surfaces and compaction coincided with the highest soil erosion rates measured in the exotic pastures. However, the mean fodder production in the exotic plots was almost five times higher (987 kg DM ha−1) than in the native ones (204 kg DM ha−1). These findings confirm that farmers have an internal conflict. They want to optimize the production of fodder, but this leads to high soil erosion rates and reduces soil fertility in the medium- and long-term. The traditional, less productive pastoral system is more sustainable from an environmental and cultural point of view. However, this system may not be sustainable from an economic point of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Erosion: Process Response to Change)
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