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Measurement of Water Soil Erosion at Sparacia Experimental Area (Southern Italy): A Summary of More than Twenty Years of Scientific Activity

  • Autori: Pampalone V.; Carollo F.G.; Nicosia A.; Palmeri V.; Di Stefano C.; Bagarello V.; Ferro V.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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The main purpose of this article is to give a general idea of the scientific activity that was carried out starting from the 2000s on the basis of the data collected in the plots installed at the Sparacia experimental station for soil erosion measurement in Sicily, South Italy. The paper includes a presentation of the experimental site, a description of the methods and procedures for measuring soil erosion processes both available in the literature and applied at the Sparacia station (sediment sampling and water level reading in the storage tanks for total erosion measurements; profilometer, and Structure from Motion technique for rill erosion measurements), and the main results obtained in the monitoring period in the experimental site. The latter concern the effects of plot size and steepness on soil loss, the measurement variability, the frequency analysis of soil loss, the rill erosion characterization, and the comparison between rill and interrill erosion rates. Each of these topics is addressed with multi‐temporal analyses performed with increasing size of the available database, which allowed to draw robust conclusions. Soil loss did not vary appreciably with plot length in contrast with the assumption made in the USLE/RUSLE. The variability of the measurements of soil loss, runoff volume, and sediment concentration at the event scale in replicated plots decreased as the mean measured value increased. The normalized event soil loss was distributed according to a two‐component distribution. A power relationship between rill volumes and lengths was established. The measurements also confirmed the morphological similarity between the channels of the rills and ephemeral gullies described by a power dimensionless relationship. Rill erodibility of the sampled clay soil varied over time, maintaining relatively low values. Finally, rill erosion was dominant relative to interrill erosion, and a more efficient sediment transport system through the rill network occurred as plot steepness increased.