Erosion processes on different relief units: the relationship of form and process

T. Iserloh, S. Wirtz, M. Seeger, I. Marzolff, J.B. Ries


Geomorphological relief units are related to certain processes and the history of their development. They are well defined by form and material. This study investigates erosion processes on different relief units. Rainfall simulations, rill experiments and monitoring by aerial photography were performed on dunes, glacis, Holocene fillings, talus material and Quaternary loam terraces in order to analyse the varying process intensities. Splash, interrill erosion and runoff generation were quantified by rainfall simulation experiments, rill erosion by rill experiments and gully growth by monitoring over several years. The test sites are situated in NE- and SE-Spain, S-Morocco and N-Burkina Faso. The results clearly show that the measured processes are very different from those supposed to be relevant for the formation of relief units. Dunes and Holocene fillings are highly erodible by splash and interrill erosion. In contrast, Quaternary loam terraces show a low susceptibility to erosion processes. We conclude that the relief units show very different dominances of erosion processes and process intensities. The differentiation is more significant with increasing scale and complexity of the erosion process: The extent of gully growth varies much more between the different units than those of splash and interrill erosion do.


relief units; erosion processes; rainfall simulation experiments; rill experiments; gully monitoring

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