Earth surface processes and landforms vol:21 issue:5 pages:399-411
Soil surface roughness is a dynamic property which determines, to a large extent, erosion and infiltration rates. Although soils containing rock fragments are widespread in the Mediterranean region, the effect of the latter on surface roughness evolution is yet poorly understood. Therefore, laboratory experiments were conducted in order to investigate the effect of rock fragment content, rock fragment size and initial moisture content of the fine earth on the evolution of interrill surface roughness during simulated rainfall. Surface elevations of simulated plough layers along transects of 50 cm length were measured before and after simulated rainfall (totalling 192.5 mm, I = 70 mm h(-1)) with a laser microreliefmeter. The results were used to investigate whether systematic variations in interrill surface roughness along stony hillslopes in southeastern Spain could be attributed to rock fragment cover and rock fragment size. Soil surface elevations were measured along the contour lines (50 cm long transects) with a contact microreliefmeter. Roughness was expressed by two parameters related to the height and frequency of roughness elements, respectively: standard deviation of de-trended surface elevations (random roughness: RR), and correlation length (L) derived from exponential fits of the autocorrelation functions.