Analysis physical and chemical properties of soil and morphometric impacts on gully erosion

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Physical Geography, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

2 Department of Geography, University of Urmia, Urmia, Iran


     It is widely known that the development of gullies causes the loss of a great amount of soil and can be considered as one of the principal causes of geo-environmental degradation. The study area of the present research is located in the eastern shores of Urmia Lake. This study sought to evaluate the rate of growth and effective factors on the area’s gully dynamic over a year. To achieve this goal, levels of Electrical Conductivity (EC), Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR), pH, types of soil, and morphometric analysis were used for categorizing and analyzing effective factors on the creation of gully erosion. In addition, as the climate index, the coefficient of moisture in the area’s formation for analyzing the area’s gully erosion potential was also employed as relevant indicators. The results based on climate indices show that the area’s gully erosion potential is high. Analyzing the taken samples’ structures indicated that the constructing components of geological formations provided highly appropriate conditions for vertical and horizontal leveling of gullies because of the weak building of aggregates in a way that the results of the morphometric monitoring of the gullies represent the area’s high growth speed and dynamicity. High accumulation of soluble salts especially high values of SAR and EC have led to dissolution erosion that provides the conditions for creating tunnel erosion. The results of the research showed gully erosion formation in the study area and its expansion due to two factors, climate factors together with the chemical and physical characteristics of ‌an area’s soils. The results of the present research are of great importance for gully erosion modeling tasks in the study area and can be used as the base of future researches for identifying the relevant criteria and indicators in gully erosions.


Abedini, M., 2013. Quantitative Analysis of Trench Erosion on the Kalgan Chayi Basin (East of Sahand). Iranian Journal of Geography and Territorial Spatial Arrangement, 7; 97-110.

Ahmadi, H., 2006. Applied Geomorphology (Water Erosion). Tehran University Press.

Battaglia, S., L. Leoni, F. Sartori, 2002. Mineralogical and grain size composition of clays developing calanchi and biancane erosional landforms. Geomorphology, 49; 153-170.

Burian, L.A., V. Mitusov, J. Poesen, 2015. Relationships of attributes of gullies with morphometric variables. Geomorphometry, 1; 111-114.

Chappell, N.A., J.L. Ternan, K. Bidin, 1999. Correlation of physicochemical properties and sub-erosional landforms with aggregate stability variations in a tropical Ultisol disturbed by forestry operations. Soil Tillage and Research, 50; 55-71.

Christos A., C.K. Karavitis, K. Orestis, A. Kounalaki, V. Fasoul, 2010. Definition of desertification rick by using simple indicators. Scientific reports, Agricultural University of Athens, Greece.

Conoscenti, C., V. Agnesi, S. Angileri, C. Cappadonia, E. Rotigliano, M. Märker, 2014. A GIS-based approach for gully erosion susceptibility modelling: a test in Sicily, Italy. Environmental Earth Sciences, 70; 1179-1195.

Crouch, R.J., J.W. McGarity, R.R. Storrier, 1986. Tunnel formation processes in the riverina area of N.S.W., Australia, and Earth Surf. Processes Landforms, 11; 157-168.

Dondofema F., A. Murwira, A. Mhizha, 2008. Identifying Gullies and determining their relationships with environmental factors using GIS in the Zhulube meso-catchment. Water and Sustainable Development for Improved Livelihoods, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Esmaeelnezhad, L., J, Seyedmohammadi Meresht, R. Bakhshipour, 2012. Effect of soil physical, chemical and mineralogical properties on gully morphology in southern marl lands of Guilan province. Watershed Management Research (Pajouhesh & Sazandegi), 97; 7-16. (In Persian).

Ghodousi, J., A. Davari, 2012. Effect of Physical and Chemical Properties of Soil on Gully Incision and Morphology, Proceeding of 3rd National Conference on Erosion and Sediment, Karaj, Iran, 1-8.

Igwe, C.A., F.O.R., Akamigbo, J.S.C, Mbagwu, 1995. The use of some soil aggregate indices to assess potential soil loss in soils of Southeastern Nigeria. International Agrophysics, 9; 95-100.

Jha, V.C., S. Kapat, 2009. Rill and Gully Erosion Risk of Lateritic Terrain in South-Western Birbhum District, West Bengal, India. Sociedade & Natureza, 21; 141-158.

Kertész, A., 2009. Environmental conditions of gully erosion in Hungary. Hungarian Geographical Bulletin. Vol. 58. No 3. pp. 151–161.

Key, B.D., A.R. Dexter, 1992. The influence of dispersible clay and wetting/drying cycles on the tensile strength of a red-brown earth. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 30; 297-310.

Lal, R., 2001. Soil Degradation by erosion. Land degradation and development, 12; 519-539.

Lobo, D., Z. Lozano, F. Delgado, 2005. Water erosion risk assessment and impact on productivity of a Venezuelan soil. Catena, 64; 297-306.

Nandi, A., I. Luffman, 2012. Erosion Related Changes to Physicochemical Properties of Ultisols Distributed on Calcareous Sedimentary Rocks. Journal of Sustainable Development; 5; 52-68.

O’Geen, A.T., L.J. Schwankl, 2006. Understanding Soil Erosion in Irrigated Agriculture. Regents of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Publication 8196.

 Ogbonna, J.U., M. Alozie, V. Nkemdirim, M.U. Eze, 2011. GIS Analysis for mapping gully erosion impacts on the geo-formation of the Old Imo State, Nigeria. ABSU Journal of Environment, Science and Technology, 1; 48-61.

Piccarreta, M., H. Faulkner, M. Bentivenga, D. Capolongo, 2006. The influence of physico-chemical material properties on erosion processes in the badlands of Basilicata. Southern Italy. Geomorphology, 81; 235-251.

Poesen, J., J. Nachtergaele, G. Verstraeten, C. Valentin, 2003. Gully erosion and environmental change: importance and research needs. Catena, 50; 91–133.

Poesen, J., K. Vandaele, B. van Wesemael, 1996. Contribution of gully erosion to sediment production in cultivated lands and rangelands. – IAHS Publications, 236; 251–266.

Poesen, J., L. Vandekerckhove, J. Nachtergaele, D. Oostwoud Wijdenes, G. Verstraeten, B. Van Wesemael, 2002. Gully erosion in dryland environments.In: Bull, L.J., Kirkby, M.J. (Eds.), Dryland Rivers:  Hydrology and Geomorphology of Semi-arid Channels. Wiley & Sons, Chichester, England;  229–262.

Rangavar, A., 2009. Investigation some gully soil properties in Khorasan Razavi, The Congress of Soil Science, Gorgan, Iran. pp. 1876-1880.

Rienks, S.M., G.A. Botha, J.C. Hughes, 2000. Some physical and chemical properties of sediments exposed in a gully donga in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and their relationship to the erodibility of the colluvial layers. Catena, 39; 11-31.

Santis, F.D., M.L. Giannossi, L. Medici, V. Summa, F. Tateo, 2010. Impact of physico-chemical soil properties on erosion features in the Aliano area (Southern Italy). Catena, 81; 172-181.

Sarvati, M.R., J. Ghoddousi, M. Dadkhah, 2008. Factors effecting initiation and advancement of gully erosion in loesses. Iranian Journal of Pajouhesh & Sazandegi, 78; 20-33.

Shahrivar, A., C. Boon Sung, S. Jusop, A. Rahim, M. Soufi, 2012. Roles of SAR and EC in Gully Erosion Development (A Case Study of Kohgiloye va Boyerahmad Province, Iran). Journal of Research in Agricultural Science, 8; 1- 12.

Tajik, F., H. Rahimi, E. Pazira, 2002. The Effect of Soil Organic Matter, Electrical Conductivity, and Sodium Adsorption Ratio on Tensile Strength of Aggregates. Iranian Journal of Water and Soil Science, 6; 151-161.

Torri, D., A. Colica, D. Rockwell, 1994. Preliminary study of the erosion mechanisms in biancane badland (Tuscany, Italy). Catena, 23; 281-294.

Valentin, C., J. Poesen, Y. Li, 2005. Gully erosion: impacts, factors and control. Catena, 63; 132–153.

Vandekerckhove L., J. Poesen, D. Oostwoud Wijdenes, G. Gyssels, L. Beuselinck, E. de Luna, 2000. Characteristics and controlling factors of bank gullies in two semi-arid Mediterranean environments. Geomorphology, 33; 37-58.

Verachtert, E., M. Van Den Eeckhaut, J. Poesen, J. Deckers, 2010. Factors controlling the spatial distribution of soil piping erosion on loess-derived soils: A case study from central Belgium, Geomorphology, 118; 339–348.