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Journal of Arid Land  2018, Vol. 10 Issue (1): 39-52    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-017-0074-7
Orginal Article     
Influences of sand cover on erosion processes of loess slopes based on rainfall simulation experiments
Xiang ZHANG1,2,3, Zhanbin LI2,3, Peng LI3,*(), Shanshan TANG3, Tian WANG3, Hui ZHANG3
1 Post-doctoral Research Station of Xi’an Chan-Ba National Ecological District, Xi’an 710024, China;
2 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Science and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
3 State Key Laboratory Base of Eco-Hydraulic Engineering in Arid Area, Xi’an University of Technology, Xi’an 710048, China;
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Aeolian-fluvial interplay erosion regions are subject to intense soil erosion and are of particular concern in loess areas of northwestern China. Understanding the composition, distribution, and transport processes of eroded sediments in these regions is of considerable scientific significance for controlling soil erosion. In this study, based on laboratory rainfall simulation experiments, we analyzed rainfall-induced erosion processes on sand-covered loess slopes (SS) with different sand cover patterns (including length and thickness) and uncovered loess slopes (LS) to investigate the influences of sand cover on erosion processes of loess slopes in case regions of aeolian-fluvial erosion. The grain-size curves of eroded sediments were fitted using the Weibull function. Compositions of eroded sediments under different sand cover patterns and rainfall intensities were analyzed to explore sediment transport modes of SS. The influences of sand cover amount and pattern on erosion processes of loess slopes were also discussed. The results show that sand cover on loess slopes influences the proportion of loess erosion and that the compositions of eroded sediments vary between SS and LS. Sand cover on loess slopes transforms silt erosion into sand erosion by reducing splash erosion and changing the rainfall-induced erosion processes. The percentage of eroded sand from SS in the early stage of runoff and sediment generation is always higher than that in the late stage. Sand cover on loess slopes aggravates loess erosion, not only by adding sand as additional eroded sediments but also by increasing the amount of eroded loess, compared with the loess slopes without sand cover. The influence of sand cover pattern on runoff yield and the amount of eroded sediments is larger than that of sand cover amount. Furthermore, given the same sand cover pattern, a thicker sand cover could increase sand erosion while a thinner sand cover could aggravate loess erosion. This difference explains the existence of intense erosion on slopes that are thinly covered with sand in regions where aeolian erosion and fluvial erosion interact.

Key wordsaeolian-fluvial erosion      sand-covered loess slopes      sand cover amount      sand cover pattern      rainfall intensity      grain-size distribution      Inner Mongolia Reach of the Yellow River     
Received: 12 March 2017      Published: 10 February 2018
Corresponding Authors: Peng LI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Xiang ZHANG, Zhanbin LI, Peng LI, Shanshan TANG, Tian WANG, Hui ZHANG. Influences of sand cover on erosion processes of loess slopes based on rainfall simulation experiments. Journal of Arid Land, 2018, 10(1): 39-52.

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