Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Water".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 17620

Special Issue Editors

College of Forestry, Guizhou University, Guiyang 550025, China
Interests: soil erosion; soil and water conservation; soil hydrology; underground leakage; rainfall runoff; nutrient loss; karst hydrology; rock soil interface; rocky desertification
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
College of Forestry, Guizhou University, Guiyang, China
Interests: soil erosion; soil hydrology; land degradation; vegetation–geomorphology interaction; karst geomorphology
School of Water Resources & Environmental Engineering, East China University of Technology, Nanchang, China
Interests: hydrogeochemistry; hydrogeology; groundwater quality and pollution; health risk assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although considerable efforts have been made worldwide, soil erosion by water is still a major threat for many countries, greatly affecting soil quality and health and thus productivity of land, biodiversity of ecosystems, and others, influencing human survival and development. Water erosion is the wearing away of soil by rainfall and water flow. Understanding the occurrence of soil erosion and the mechanism behind it will more effectively help us to protect soil from erosion.

This Special Issue will mainly address new findings and better understanding of the processes, mechanisms of soil erosion induced by rainfall and water flow, and interrelationships between soil erosion and rainfall and water flow. Of cause, this includes rainfall interception, raindrop splashing capacity, rainwater and runoff infiltrations, preferential flow, runoff path, hydrological connectivity, etc., and raindrop splash erosion, sheet erosion, rill erosion, gully erosion and underground leakage, etc. caused by them.

We welcome original studies based on field measurements and monitoring, laboratory control experiments, and numerical simulation. We also welcome the latest comprehensive reviews.

If your findings are novel or unique and your method is new, please submit your paper to our Special Issue, to which we are inviting high-quality papers.

Dr. Xudong Peng
Dr. Lunjiang Wang
Dr. Adimalla Narsimha
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • runoff generation
  • rainwater infiltration
  • preferential flow
  • hydrological connections
  • raindrop splash erosion
  • sheet erosion
  • rill erosion
  • underground leakage

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 2215 KiB  
Article
The Impacts of the Hydrological Regime on the Soil Aggregate Size Distribution and Stability in the Riparian Zone of the Three Gorges Reservoir, China
Water 2023, 15(9), 1791; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15091791 - 07 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1279
Abstract
The impoundment of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) has greatly altered the hydrological regime and thus formed a distinctive riparian zone with anti-seasonal inundation and exposure, which may affect the soil aggregate properties in this riparian zone. Yet, the soil aggregate size distribution [...] Read more.
The impoundment of the Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) has greatly altered the hydrological regime and thus formed a distinctive riparian zone with anti-seasonal inundation and exposure, which may affect the soil aggregate properties in this riparian zone. Yet, the soil aggregate size distribution and stability influenced by the hydrological regime along the step-impounded elevation have rarely been documented. This study aimed to elucidate how the hydrological regime of the TGR affected the aggregate size distribution and stability in the riparian zone. Based on the step-impounded elevation, topsoil samples were collected from four elevation-dependent transects in a middle section of the TGR. Dry-sieving and wet-sieving methods were employed. The results showed that, with a decrease in the elevation gradient, the mass percentage of the >5 mm aggregates significantly decreased, while the proportions of the other size classes presented an increasing trend. Additionally, the mean weight diameter (MWD), geometric mean diameter (GMD), aggregate stability rate (ASR), and percentage of aggregate destruction (PAD) of the fractal dimension showed a successive decrease with a decrease in the elevation gradient, whereas PADMWD, PADGMD, PADASR, and the fractal dimension demonstrated a reverse trend. It can thus be deduced that the hydrological regime of the TGR significantly modified the aggregate size distribution and dramatically reduced the aggregate stability, which may provide a crucial basis for assessing the soil erosion in similar riparian zones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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16 pages, 4246 KiB  
Article
An Assessment Model for the Erosion Occurrence of Gap-Graded Sand-Gravel Soils under Variable Seepage Direction
Water 2023, 15(8), 1487; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15081487 - 11 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1160
Abstract
The movement of particles caused by erosion is one of the main reasons for the destruction of projects, such as dams, tunnels, and foundation pits. This study highlights a theoretical model to assess the occurrence of erosion in gap-graded, sand-gravel soils under variable [...] Read more.
The movement of particles caused by erosion is one of the main reasons for the destruction of projects, such as dams, tunnels, and foundation pits. This study highlights a theoretical model to assess the occurrence of erosion in gap-graded, sand-gravel soils under variable seepage direction based on the critical hydraulic conditions of particle initiation. The model introduced the effects of relative exposure degree, relative hidden degree, and seepage direction by considering the difference in particle initiation conditions. On the basis of the variable-section capillary tube model formed by the skeletal pores, the mechanical analysis of the movable particles in the pores was performed, and the formulas for the critical hydraulic conditions were obtained according to the moment balance equation. Subsequently, the coupled CFD-DEM method and the available experimental data were used for validation. The comparison revealed a deviation of 0.0268 for the mean of the ratio between the calculated and simulated values compared to 1, with a covariance (COV) of 0.0344. Further, the mean value of the ratio between the calculated and test values compared to 1 had a maximum deviation of 0.095 and a covariance (COV) of 0.0143. The high degree of agreement between the data proved that the theoretical model can assess the occurrence of erosion more accurately. Finally, based on the theoretical model, the study further explored the effects of seepage direction and relative particle position on the variability in particle initiation conditions, thus finding that, unlike in other studies, the effect of seepage direction was not linear. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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9 pages, 4143 KiB  
Article
The Interaction of Aeolian Sand and Slope on Runoff and Soil Loss on a Loess Slope via Simulated Rainfall under Laboratory Conditions
Water 2023, 15(5), 888; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15050888 - 25 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
The wind–water erosion crisscross region, where the topography is complicated, is the most severe area of soil erosion on the Loess Plateau. The wind and terrain both have an impact on the soil water erosion process. In order to evaluate the effects of [...] Read more.
The wind–water erosion crisscross region, where the topography is complicated, is the most severe area of soil erosion on the Loess Plateau. The wind and terrain both have an impact on the soil water erosion process. In order to evaluate the effects of sand cover on runoff and soil loss characteristics, a series of experiments was conducted in two contrasting treatments. One treatment was a bare loess soil slope serving as the control, and the others were sand-covered loess slopes with five different slopes. The results showed that the runoff time, total runoff yield, and total soil loss were different between the sand-covered slope and the loess slope on the slope of 15°. The sediment concentration of the sand-covered slope was significantly higher than that of the loess slope during the entire rainfall process (p < 0.05). The increase in the slope gradient shortened the surface runoff initiation times and enhanced the total runoff volume and soil loss. The total runoff volume and the total soil loss were 39.7 L and 44.3 kg, respectively, on the sand-covered slope of 10°. When the slope gradient increased from 10° to 30°, the total runoff volume and the total soil loss increased by 22.8 L and 42.8 kg, respectively, while the surface runoff initiation times shortened by 300 s. For the sand-covered slopes, the erosion processes appeared to be mainly dominated by sediment transport. The correlation between soil loss rates and slope gradients demonstrated the secondary polynomial function. In addition, the critical slope of sand-covered slopes was from approximately 23° to 28°. The proportion of sand cover and slope responsible for soil erosion was 3:1, which means the wind effect was more important than the terrace factor in terms of soil water erosion in the wind–water erosion crisscross region. The results provide a theoretical basis for soil erosion control in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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20 pages, 18108 KiB  
Article
Soil Erosion under Future Climate Change Scenarios in a Semi-Arid Region
Water 2023, 15(1), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15010146 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2314
Abstract
The Mediterranean Region is presumed to be one of the locations where climate change will have the most effect. This impacts natural resources and increases the extent and severity of natural disasters, in general, and soil water erosion in particular. The focus of [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean Region is presumed to be one of the locations where climate change will have the most effect. This impacts natural resources and increases the extent and severity of natural disasters, in general, and soil water erosion in particular. The focus of this research was to assess how climate change might affect the rate of soil erosion in a watershed in the High Atlas of Morocco. For this purpose, high-resolution precipitation and temperature data (12.5 × 12.5 km) were collected from EURO-CORDEX regional climate model (RCM) simulations for the baseline period, 1976–2005, and future periods, 2030–2060 and 2061–2090. In addition, three maps were created for slopes, land cover, and geology, while the observed erosion process in the catchment was determined following field observations. The erosion potential model (EPM) was then used to assess the impacts of precipitation and temperature variations on the soil erosion rate. Until the end of the 21st century, the results showed a decrease in annual precipitation of −32% and −46% under RCP 4.5 for the periods 2030–2060 and 2061–2090, respectively, −28% and −56% under RCP 8.5 for the same periods, respectively, and a large increase in temperature of +2.8 °C and +4.1 °C for the RCP 4.5 scenario, and +3.1 °C and +5.2 °C for the RCP 8.5 scenario for the periods 2030–2060 and 2061–2090, respectively. The aforementioned changes are anticipated to significantly increase the soil erosion potential rate, by +97.11 m3/km2/year by 2060, and +76.06 m3/km2/year by 2090, under the RCP 4.5 scenario. The RCP 8.5 predicts a rise of +124.64 m3/km2/year for the period 2030–2060, but a drop of −123.82 m3/km2/year for the period 2060–2090. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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15 pages, 4336 KiB  
Article
Effects of Moss Overlay on Soil Patch Infiltration and Runoff in Karst Rocky Desertification Slope Land
Water 2022, 14(21), 3429; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213429 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2099
Abstract
The growth and overlay of a large number of bryophytes in the broken soil patches between the exposed bedrocks of karst have an essential influence on the infiltration and runoff process between the exposed bedrocks and even the whole rocky desertification area. The [...] Read more.
The growth and overlay of a large number of bryophytes in the broken soil patches between the exposed bedrocks of karst have an essential influence on the infiltration and runoff process between the exposed bedrocks and even the whole rocky desertification area. The purpose of this study is to explore the effects of moss on the infiltration and runoff of soil patches between karst exposed bedrocks and the processes of rainfall, runoff and infiltration transformation on slopes through rainfall experiments. The results showed that the slopes between the karst outcrops are dominated by subsurface and underground pore runoff. More than 50% of precipitation is lost through underground pores, with surface runoff accounting for only 1–17% of the total. Bryophyte overlay significantly reduced the initial runoff from subsurface and underground pore runoff, and advanced the steady-state time of runoff from subsurface and underground pore runoff, suggesting that bryophyte coverage may reduce the risk of soil erosion caused by short-duration rainfall. Eurohypnum has a significant inhibitory effect on percolation between exposed bedrock and reduces rainfall leakage from subsurface and underground pores. Thuidium has a strong intercepting effect on rainfall, significantly reducing the formation of surface runoff and the risk of surface soil erosion. Moss overlay has an essential role in soil and water conservation between karst exposed bedrock, and Eurohypnum and Thuidium can be considered as pioneer mosses for ecological restoration in the process of rocky desertification control and ecological restoration, which can effectively solve the serious problem of soil and water loss in karst rocky desertification area and improve the benefit of soil and water conservation in karst area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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14 pages, 3108 KiB  
Article
Erosion Failure of Slope in a Dump with Ground Fissure under Heavy Rain
Water 2022, 14(21), 3425; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213425 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1611
Abstract
The dump, with the compact rock platform and high and steep loose slope that is formed during coal mining, is the most serious area of soil erosion in a surface coal mine. Ground fissures are a typical geological hazard in coal mining areas. [...] Read more.
The dump, with the compact rock platform and high and steep loose slope that is formed during coal mining, is the most serious area of soil erosion in a surface coal mine. Ground fissures are a typical geological hazard in coal mining areas. However, the effect of ground fissures on soil erosion remains unclear. Rainfall experiments were conducted to determine the varying characteristics of wetting front, runoff and sediment production, and soil denudation rate, as well as the effects of ground fissures on these factors in a platform-slope system of a dump. Ground fissures could significantly enhance wetting front and soil erosion. Rill erosion was formed as the rainfall and runoff flushed the soil, which eventually developed into erosion gullies. Erosion failure modes with platform-slope systems in the dump could be divided into the surface erosion stage, fissure deformation stage, rill erosion stage, fissure collapse-rapid increase stage, and stable stage. Runoff power and flow shear stress had the greater influence on soil denudation rate, which indicated that erosion energy of concentrated flow had important influence on soil erosion. Moreover, shallow mudflow induced by rainfall was one of the forms of soil slope instability; it occurred in a short time with great soil erosion. Soil erosion in the dump with ground fissures was mainly shallow mudflow and rill erosion, resulting from the combined effect of hydraulic erosion and gravity erosion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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13 pages, 3710 KiB  
Article
Effect of Rill Development on Slope Erosion and Sediment Yield Based on Stereophotogrammetry Technology
Water 2022, 14(19), 2951; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14192951 - 21 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1355
Abstract
Rill erosion is an important kind of slope erosion and the main source of sediment. Through simulated rainfall tests, the morphological characteristics of rill were quantified by stereophotogrammetry technology, and the relationship between rill development and sediment yield was studied. The results show [...] Read more.
Rill erosion is an important kind of slope erosion and the main source of sediment. Through simulated rainfall tests, the morphological characteristics of rill were quantified by stereophotogrammetry technology, and the relationship between rill development and sediment yield was studied. The results show that there was a positive correlation between sediment yield and slope and rainfall intensities. With the increase in rainfall duration, sediment yield first increased sharply and then decreased gradually after reaching the peak value, until it reached dynamic stability. With the increase in rainfall intensity and slope, the length, width, and number of rills increased significantly, with a maximum length of 2.58 m and a maximum width and depth of 9.7 and 2.2 cm. The rill density (RD) increased from 16.67% to 62.65%; rill fragmentation degree (RFD) increased from 16.67% to 100.00%; rill complexity (RC) increased from 10.62% to 30.84%, and rill width–depth ratio (RWDR) decreased from 15.82% to 56.28% with the increase in slope from 6° to 15° and rainfall intensity from 2.0 to 3.0 mm/min. There was a good nonlinear relationship between sediment yield and RC and RWDR (R2 = 0.89, NSE = 0.85, n = 10). This study could provide help for the quantification research of rill erosion mechanisms and provide reference for the measurement and scale transformations of soil erosion at different scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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13 pages, 5606 KiB  
Article
Impact of Piping Erosion Process on the Temporal–Spatial Mechanisms of Soil
Water 2022, 14(18), 2841; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182841 - 12 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1459
Abstract
Earthen dams with greater fines are more susceptible to failure from the piping. This study employed the coupled computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-discrete element method (DEM) to investigate the impact of the piping erosion process. Results displayed that increasing the fine contents would reduce [...] Read more.
Earthen dams with greater fines are more susceptible to failure from the piping. This study employed the coupled computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-discrete element method (DEM) to investigate the impact of the piping erosion process. Results displayed that increasing the fine contents would reduce the particle velocity and drag force for enhancing the erosion resistance. Piping would reduce the stability of the structure at different positions of the sample with various fine contents. The representative volume elements (RVE) were selected to observe the local geometry and material behavior as the erosion progressed. Severe water flows significantly reduced the peak shear strength of the eroded soils for the interactive-underfilled soil, particularly for the downstream side. However, the interactive-overfilled specimen reduced the peak shear strength on the upstream side. Results indicated that the proposed weighted clustering coefficient is a better index to capture the shear strength of the eroded soil matrix, with a high magnitude corresponding to a high peak shear strength. Different local material behavior may lead to differential settlements and associated catastrophic consequences during the piping erosion process, which should draw special attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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18 pages, 5799 KiB  
Article
Simulation Study on Hydrological Process of Soil Cracks in Open-Pit Coal Mine Dump
Water 2022, 14(15), 2302; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14152302 - 24 Jul 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1639
Abstract
The dumping site is the most serious soil erosion area in an industrial and mining construction area. The development of cracks and water movement in the dumping site is the main factors that induce slope collapse. In this text, the influence of the [...] Read more.
The dumping site is the most serious soil erosion area in an industrial and mining construction area. The development of cracks and water movement in the dumping site is the main factors that induce slope collapse. In this text, the influence of the crack width, rainfall intensity, and two simulation methods of hydrological processes are investigated under artificial rainfall conditions. The results show that the total runoff is affected by two factors, namely rainfall intensity and crack width, and the total runoff decreases with the increase in the crack width. The stable infiltration rate decreases with the increase in the crack width under the same rainfall intensities. When the rainfall intensity is greater than 90 mm/h, the contribution of leakage to the total infiltration is more than 50%. Under simulated rainfall conditions, the total runoff of the solid model was reduced by 5% to 13% compared with the equivalent model. Hence, the cumulative leakage of the solid model is 29% to 71% larger than that of the equivalent model under the same conditions. In this text, the transformation equations from the solid model of the dump site to the equivalent models of runoff, infiltration, and leakage are constructed, and then it can be corrected by the fitting equation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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15 pages, 4096 KiB  
Article
Effects of Different Crop Root Systems on Soil Detachment by Concentrated Flow on the Loess Plateau in China
Water 2022, 14(5), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14050772 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1851
Abstract
Soil erosion in sloping cropland is a major water and soil conservation issue in the Loess Plateau region, one of the main areas with sloping cropland in China. However, the effect of crop root systems, a major factor potentially influencing soil and water [...] Read more.
Soil erosion in sloping cropland is a major water and soil conservation issue in the Loess Plateau region, one of the main areas with sloping cropland in China. However, the effect of crop root systems, a major factor potentially influencing soil and water conservation in cropland, on farmland erosion, remains unclear. In the present study, soil erosion was investigated using indoor runoff scouring experiments with millet, maize, and soybean cover, with a bare surface as the control (CK), on sloping surfaces. Crop root system characteristics, rill initiation time, and erosion law, as well as their interactions, were investigated. Rill initiation time in slopes with all three crops slope were greater than that in the bare slope, indicating that crops could significantly enhance soil anti-scourability. Soil detachment rate decreased under crop cover when compared with bare land, considering the average soil detachment rate was the highest under CK, followed by under maize and soybean, and the least under millet. Slope gradient and unit discharge rate were positively correlated with soil detachment rate. Root length density, root surface area density, and root volume density were negatively correlated with soil detachment rate. Moreover, roots in the 0–1 mm diameter range dominantly influenced soil erosion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall and Water Flow-Induced Soil Erosion)
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