The susceptibility of loess soils in the lower Mississippi to runoff and erosion losses varies as a function of landscape position and mapping units. This study was conducted to determine the effects of soil drainage on physical and chemical properties that influence erodibility through their control of aggregate stability. Soil samples were collected from the A- and B-horizons of the five representative pedons in the Memphis catena whose drainage class varied from well-drained to poorly-drained. The fine earth fraction (< 2 mm) of each soil was characterized for a range of basic soil physical and chemical properties. Additional sub-samples (< 8 mm) were placed in a rainfall simulator pan (0.6 m × 0.6 m test area) and subjected to simulated rainfall at an intensity of 64 mm h- 1. Soil erodibility was assessed by the use of an aggregation index (AI) computed from water dispersible clay (WDC) relative to total clay contents. The data show that as soil drainage classes became wetter, the percentage of sediment < 53 μm increased with a decrease in soil AI resulting from a loss of Fe, Al, and Si oxide cementing agents. These results suggest that cementing agents responsible for soil aggregate stabilization are mobilized under conditions of relatively low redox potentials which increase soil erodibility.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes