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Tracing sediment redistribution across a break in slope using rare earth elements

Abstract : Experimentally determined spatial patterns of soil redistribution across a break in slope derived using 10 rare earth element (REE) oxides as sediment tracers are presented. An erosion experiment was conducted using simulated rainfall within a laboratory slope model measuring 2*5 m wide by 6 m long with a gradient of 15° declining to 2°. Soil was tagged with multiple REE and placed in different locations over the slope and at the end of the experiment REE concentrations were measured in samples collected spatially. A new method was developed to quantify the erosion and deposition depths spatially, the relative source contributions to deposited sediment and the sediment transport distances. Particle-size selectivity over an area of net deposition was also investigated, by combining downslope changes in particle-size distributions with changes in sediment REE composition within a flow pathway. During the experiment, the surface morphology evolved through upslope propagation of rill headcuts, which gradually incised the different REE-tagged zones and led to sediment deposition at the break in slope and the development of a fan extending over the shallow slope segment. The spatial patterns in REE concentrations, the derived erosion and deposition depths, the relative source contributions to deposition zones and the sediment transport distances, corroborate the morphological observations and demonstrate the potential of using REE for quantifying sediment transport processes.
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Submitted on : Monday, February 7, 2011 - 5:57:58 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 6:58:05 PM

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Katerina Michaelides, Ioana Ibraim, Guillaume Nord, Michel Esteves. Tracing sediment redistribution across a break in slope using rare earth elements. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Wiley, 2010, 35 (5), pp.575-587. ⟨10.1002/esp.1956⟩. ⟨insu-00564017⟩



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