Developments of Rill Networks: An Experimental Plot Scale Study


Enumerating the relative proportions of soil losses due to rill erosion processes during monsoon and post-monsoon season is a significant factor in predicting total soil losses and sediment transport and deposition. Present study evaluated the rill network with simulated experiment of treatments on varying slope and rainfall intensity to find out the rill erosion processes and sediment discharge in relation to slope and rainfall intensity. Results showed a significant relationship between the rainfall intensity and sediment yield (r = 0.75). Our results illustrated that due to increase in rainfall intensity represent the development of efficient rill network while, no rill was found with a slope of 20° and a rainfall intensity of 60 mm·h-1. The highest rill length was observed in plot E with 20° slope and 120 mm·h-1 rainfall intensity at 360 minutes. Positive and strong correlation (R2 = 0.734, P < 0.001) was observed between the cumulative rainfall intensity and sediment discharge. A longitudinal profile was delineated and showed that the depth and numbers of depressions amplified with time and were more prominent for escalating rainfall intensity for its steeper slopes. Information derived from the study could be applied to estimate longer-term erosion stirring over larger areas possessing parallel landforms.

Share and Cite:

P. Shit, G. Bhunia and R. Maiti, "Developments of Rill Networks: An Experimental Plot Scale Study," Journal of Water Resource and Protection, Vol. 5 No. 2, 2013, pp. 133-141. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2013.52015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] M. C. Slattery and R. B. Bryan, “Hydraulic Conditions for Rill Incision under Simulated Rainfall: A Laboratory Experiment,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 17, No. 2, 1992, pp. 127-146. doi:10.1002/esp.3290170203
[2] G. Govers, “Relationship between Discharge, Velocity and Flow Area for Rills Eroding Loose, Non-Layered Materials,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 17, No. 5, 1992, pp. 515-528. doi:10.1002/esp.3290170510
[3] T. W. Lei, M. A. Nearing, K. Haghighi and V. F. Bralts, “Rill Erosion and Morphological Evolution: A Simulation Model,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 34, No. 11, 1998, pp. 3157-3168. doi:10.1029/98WR02162
[4] M. A. Nearing, L. D. Norton, D. A. Bulgakov and G. A. Larionov, “Hydraulics and Erosion in Eroding Rills,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 33, No. 4, 1997, pp. 865-876. doi:10.1029/97WR00013
[5] D. T. Favis-Mortlock, “An Evolutionary, Approach to the Simulation of Rill Initiation and Development,” In: R. H. Abrahart, Ed., Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on GeoComputation, University of Leeds, Leeds, Vol. 1, 1996, pp. 248-281.
[6] D. T. Favis-Mortlock, “A Self-Orgnizing Dynamic System Approach to the Simulation of Rill Development on Hillslopes,” Computers and Geosciences, Vol. 24, No. 4, 1998, pp. 353-372. doi:10.1016/S0098-3004(97)00116-7
[7] J. Peosen, J. Ngehtergaele, G. Verstraeten and C. Valentin, “Gully Erosion and Environmental Change: Importance and Research Needs,” Catena, Vol. 50, No. 2-4, 2003, pp. 91-133. doi:10.1016/S0341-8162(02)00143-1
[8] G. A. Mancilla, S. Chen and D. K. McCool, “Rill Density Prediction and Flow Velocity Distributions on Agricultural Areas in the Pacific Northwest,” Soil & Tillage Research, Vol. 84, No. 1, 2005, pp. 54-66. doi:10.1016/j.still.2004.10.002
[9] C. Berger, M. Schulze, D. Rieke-Zapp and F. Schlunegger, “Rill Development and Soil Erosion: A Laboratory Study of Slope and Rainfall Intensity,” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Vol. 35, No. 12, 2010, pp. 1456-1467.
[10] R. B. Bryan, “Soil Erosion under Simulated Rainfall in the Field and Laboratory: Variability of Erosion under Controlled Conditions,” In: Tacconi, Eds., Erosion and Sediment Transport Measurement, Walling, IAHS Press, Wallingford, pp. 391-404.
[11] G. A. Mancilla, S. Chen and D. K. McCool, “Rill Density Prediction and Flow Velocity Distribution on Agricultural Areas in the Pacific Northwest,” Soil and Tillage Research, Vol. 84, No. 1, 2005, pp. 54-66. doi:10.1016/j.still.2004.10.002
[12] G. Govers, “Rill Erosion on Arable Land in Central Belgium. Rates, Controls and Predictability,” Catena, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1991, pp. 133-155. doi:10.1016/0341-8162(91)90013-N
[13] D. T. Favis-Mortlock, J. Boardman, A. J. Parsons and B. Lascelles, “Emergence and Erosion: A Model for Rill Initiation and Development,” Hydrological Processes, Vol. 14, No. 11-12, 2000, pp. 2173-2205. doi:10.1002/1099-1085(20000815/30)14:11/12<2173::AID-HYP61>3.0.CO;2-6
[14] J. Poesen, J. Nachtergaele, G. Verstraeten and C. Valentina, “Gully Erosion and Environmental Change: Importance and Research Needs,” Catena, Vol. 50, No. 2-4. 2003, pp. 91-133. doi:10.1016/S0341-8162(02)00143-1
[15] M. P. Mosley, “Experimental Study of Rill Erosion,” Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Vol. 17, No. 5, 1974, pp. 909-916.
[16] R. S. Parker, “Experimental Study of Drainage Basin Evolution and Its Hydrologic Implications,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 1977.
[17] A. Ogunlela, B. N. Wilson, C. T. Rice and G. Couger, “Rill Network Development and Analysis under Simulated Rainfall,” American Society of Agricultural Engineers Paper No. 892112, Quebec City, 1989.
[18] B. N. Wilson and D. E. Storm, “Fractal Analysis of Sur- face Drainage Networks for Small Upland Areas,” Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Vol. 36, No. 5, 1993, pp. 1319-1326.
[19] S. A. Schumm, M. P. Mosley and W. E. Weaver, “Experimental Fluvial Geomorphology,” Wiley Interscience, New York, 1987.
[20] A. Capra, C. Di Stefano, V. Ferro and B. Scicolone, “Similarity between Morphological Characteristics of Rills and Ephemeral Gullies in Sicily, Italy,” Hydrological Processes, Vol. 23, No. 23, 2009, pp. 3334-3341. doi:10.1002/hyp.7437
[21] J. D. Pelletier, “Drainage Basin Evolution in the Rainfall Erosion Facility: Dependence on Initial Conditions,” Geomorphology, Vol. 53, No. 1-2, 2003, pp. 183-196. doi:10.1016/S0169-555X(02)00353-7
[22] R. W. Tossell, W. T. Dickinson, R. P. Rudra and G. J. Wall, “A Portable Rainfall Simulator,” Canadian Agricultural Engineering, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1987, pp. 155-162.
[23] U. K. Mandal, K. V. Rao, P. K. Mishra, K. P. R. Vittal, K. L. Sharma and B. Narsimlu, “Soil Infiltration, Runoff and Sediment Yield from a Shallow Soil with Varied Stone Cover and Intensity of Rain,” European Journal of Soil Science, Vol. 56, No. 4, 2005, pp. 435-443. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2389.2004.00687.x
[24] C. Yao, T. Lei, W. J. Elliot, D. K. McColl, J. Zhao and S. Chen, “Critical Condition for Rill Initiation,” Transactions of the ASABE, Vol. 51, No. 1, 2008, pp. 107-114.
[25] V. A. M. Chaplot and Y. Le Bissonnais, “Runoff Features for Interrill Erosion at Different Rainfall Intensities, Slope Lengths and Gradients in an Agricultural Loessial Hill-slope,” Soil Science Society of America Journal, Vol. 67, No. 3, 2003, pp. 844-851. doi:10.2136/sssaj2003.0844
[26] J. A. Gomez, F. Darboux and M. A. Nearing, “Development and Evolution of Rill Networks under Simulated Rainfall,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 39, No. 6, 2003, pp. 1-14. doi:10.1029/2002WR001437
[27] M. A. Nearing, “Potential Changes in Rainfall Erosivity in the US with Climate Change during the 21st Century,” Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, Vol. 56, No. 3, 2001, pp. 229-232.
[28] B. Hansen, P. Reich, P. S. Lake and T. Cavagnaro, “Minimum Width Requirements for Riparian Zones to Protect Flowing Waters and to Conserve Biodiversity: A Review and Recommendations,” Monash University, Melbourne, 2010.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.