Influence of aggregate size and microrelief on development of surface soil crusts

D. M. Freebairn, S. C. Gupta, W. J. Rawls

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58 Scopus citations


This study investigated the influences of aggregate size, microrelief and rainfall intensity on development of surface crusts and infiltration. Infiltration rate and hydraulic resistance of developing crusts on two soils under various surface conditions and simulated rainfall were measured. Final or steady-state infiltration rates were similar for all aggregate sizes of both soil types, but development of a soil crust was delayed when the surface was made up of aggregates > 19 mm in diameter. Large aggregates (clods) were a source of finer materials for the development of soil crusts. Microrelief effects were simulated by creating a ridge-furrow configuration in a box. Ridge-furrow microrelief did not influence total infiltration and was only effective in modifying the spatial distribution of water in the soil during the early phase of crust development. Infiltration rates, when measured using different rainfall intensities, could be described by a single curve when expressed as a function of cumulative rainfall rather than time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-195
Number of pages8
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

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