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This article reports the results of a field investigation aimed to characterize the morphology of both rills monitored at Sparacia experimental area and two ephemeral gullies (EGs) located in the Tremamargi basin, Sicily, Italy. At first, the available literature data together with the measurements carried out in this investigation were used to show that the EG length is a key parameter for the estimation of the eroded volume. Then, the comparison among the pairs length and volume corresponding to measured rills, EGs and gullies showed that the exponent of the power relationship is independent of the channelized erosion type (rill, EG and gully), while a different scale factor has to be used for each erosion process. Finally, a single relationship applicable to all channelized erosion processes was deduced applying the dimensional analysis and the self-similarity theory. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.