The measurement and modelling of rill erosion at angle of repose slopes in mine spoil

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Abstract

The process of rill erosion causes significant amounts of sediment to be moved in both undisturbed and disturbed environments and can be a significant issue for agriculture as well as mining lands. Rills also often develop very quickly (from a single rainfall event to a season) and can develop into gullies if sufficient runoff is available to continue their development. This study examines the ability of a terrestrial laser scanner to quantify rills that have developed on fresh and homogeneous mine spoil on an angle of repose slope. It also examines the ability of the SIBERIA erosion model to simulate the rill's spatial and temporal behaviour. While there has been considerable work done examining rill erosion on rehabilitated mine sites and agricultural fields, little work has been done to examine rill development at angle of repose sites. Results show that while the overall hillslope morphology was captured by the laser scanner, with the morphology of the rills being broadly captured, the characteristics of the rills were not well defined. The digital elevation model created by the laser scanner failed to capture the rill thalwegs and tops of the banks, therefore delineating a series of ill defined longitudinal downslope depressions. These results demonstrate that an even greater density of points is needed to capture sufficient rill morphology. Nevertheless, SIBERIA simulations of the hillslope demonstrated that the model was able to capture rill behaviour in both space and time when correct model parameters were used. This result provides confidence in the SIBERIA model and its parameterization. The results demonstrate the sensitivity of the model to changes in parameters and the importance of the calibration process. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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