Morphometric and hydraulic geometry assessment of a gully in SW Spain

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Abstract

Gully erosion represents one of the most significant types of land degradation in the Mediterranean areas, giving place to important on- and off-site effects. In this paper, a second-order gully located in SW Spain is analyzed. Along the gully, 28 cross-sections were established and measured with a Leica TCRM1102 laser total station, approximately every 6 months from 2001 to 2007. The sections were located at variable distance, placing them in areas where active erosion was evident. In total, 13 field measurements were carried out, and the geometric characteristics of 28 cross-sections were obtained. Morphometric analyses were carried out in both the main gully and a tributary reach by applying an empirical relationship between channel length and eroded volume. Morphometric variables of the gully sections were combined into two dimensionless groups, and a morphological similarity between different linear erosion landforms (rills, ephemeral and permanent gullies) was obtained. Then, the coefficient of variation of the calculated volumes was used to compare the instability between the main gully and the tributary reach. Finally, the hydraulic geometry of the gully was assessed by calibrating three empirical power equations, which relate bankfull discharge with mean flow velocity, cross-sectional depth and width. The hydraulic characterization of the main gully and the tributary reach was investigated for each field survey and a different behavior was detected. The hydraulic analysis also demonstrated that higher values of discharge provide better predictions of flow velocity; the size of the main and tributary gullies affects the discharge–width relationship; and that gully depth is the variable which can be predicted with the highest accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalGeomorphology
Volume274
Publication statusPublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

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