Morphological Similarity of Channels: From Linear Erosional Features (Rill, Gully) to Alpine Rivers

Vito Ferro, Costanza Di Stefano, Paolo Tarolli, Giulia Sofia, Paolo Tarolli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The geometric characteristics of incised features such as channels, rills, ephemeral gully, gully, represent the erosional transport regime and the fluvial dynamic equilibrium, and thus it is critical for the understanding of the long-term evolution of natural, agricultural, and anthropogenic landscapes. This paper examines the morphological similarity of channelized erosion in two different environments such as Alpine landscapes and cultivated hillslopes. The first dataset comprises six rivers in the Italian Alps, three in the Carnia region and three in the Dolomites, where erosion is mainly the effect of discharges with high sediment loads or landslides and debris flows. The agricultural areas dataset includes rills, ephemeral gullies, and gullies surveyed in literature. This research highlights that the eroded volume in Alpine rivers is in line with that of agricultural landscapes or badlands around the world. Dolomites rivers of colluvial origin, flowing on soils that are not particularly deep and subject to natural disaggregation, tend to behave similarly to ephemeral gullies. Contrarily, channels that exhibit evident alluvial morphologies and coarse grain sizes are more similar to gully erosion. At different spatial scales, the results demonstrated that length–volume equations calibrated on rills, ephemeral gullies, gullies and badlands, might be feasible also for Alpine channels. The research areas present soils and bedrock lithology that differs from those in literature, thus suggesting that the morphology of linear erosion is independent of the intrinsic soil characteristics. Differences emerged between Dolomites and Carnia rivers: this highlights the importance of taking into account in future analyses other forcing factors (e.g. climate) on land degradation processes. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalLAND DEGRADATION & DEVELOPMENT
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Soil Science

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