Effects of Soil and Rock Mineralogy on Soil Erosion Features in the Merek Watershed, Iran


Accelerated soil erosion is anthropogenic phenomenon and a major worldwide environmental problem. It mainly leads to removal of the clay minerals and soil nutrients and thereby reduces soil fertility because of mineralogical influence on the soil. The objectives of this study were to identify the dominant soil and rock minerals and the influences of mineralogical properties on soil erosion features. This study was conducted at the Merek watershed, located in Kermanshah, Iran. There are different geological formations comprising limestone, sandstone, radiolarite, flysch, shale and marl. The border of each formation was mapped based on geology map and was checked in the field, using GPS and digitized by GIS software (ILWIS 3.5). The erosion feature map was prepared through remotely sensed data (Landsat ETM+ 2002, Path/Row and acquired date). About 300 soil and 28 rock samples were collected from the study area for soil and mineralogy analysis. Result shows that inter-rill, rill and snow erosion were occurred mainly at soil from Sarvak, Ilam and Gurpi Formation which are mainly containing calcite, dolomite, quartz and caolinite minerals giving moderate soil erosion intensity (5 - 10 t·ha1·yr–1). Whereas mica/smectite was dominant clay mineral of soil from Older Terraces resulting in gully erosion and considerable 12.90 t·ha–1·yr–1 soil loss. Furthermore, smectite was found as the dominant clay mineral from both soil and parent material of Kashkan Formation (marls material) contributing to landslide occurrence and severe annual soil erosion (16.6 t·ha–1·yr–1). This study revealed that both soil erosion feature and intensity potentially are affected by mineralogical properties.

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M. Heshmati, N. Majid, S. Jusop, M. Gheitury and A. Abdu, "Effects of Soil and Rock Mineralogy on Soil Erosion Features in the Merek Watershed, Iran," Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 5 No. 3, 2013, pp. 248-257. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2013.53024.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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