Process Responsible for Catenary Differentiation Essay

Process Responsible for Catenary Differentiation Essay

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Studying soils along a slope, is one of the simplest, yet, most elegant ways to discern spatial interrelationships between soils and topography. The geometry and nature of slopes can be used to define and describe the slope, and can be used as a predictor of soil character on the slope. The characteristics that are used to describe a slope are the factors of gradient, length, aspect, curvature and elevation. These characteristics/factors describe the term catena.
Slope Gradient: is the steepness or inclination of a lope from a horizontal plane. It is used to predict soil patterns. Slope gradient changes along most catenas along flowlines and laterally. For example, a steep slope will cause the rate of movement of water and debris down the slope to be more rapid. Water can either infiltrate or run-off, promoting soil development when it infiltrates and does not when it runs-off, instead it may cause erosion. Therefore, steep slopes are associated with thinner soil profiles and less developed soils. According to Vreeken (1973), less water moves into and through the soil as soil gradient increases.
Slope Length: slope length is directly correlated to erosion potential, and therefore correlates with soil development (Musgrave 1935, Gard and Van Doren 1949).
Slope Aspect: According to Schaetzl and Anderson, slope aspect indicates the compass direction towards which the slope faces, looking downslope. It becomes a major factor in the amount of solar radiation received.
Slope curvature: “sloe curvature refers to the change in aspect along the slope face, and is normally best demonstrated by the manner in which contour lines (lines of equal elevation) bend to curve (Schaetzl and Anderson, 2005).
Slope Elevation: slope elevation affec...

... middle of paper ...

...y become increasingly important to soil development. Soils impact one another on parts of the landscape especially those downslope. Soils vary along catenas for two main reasons:
The slope affects fluxes of water and matter and water table effects. Fluxes are divided into debris flux (sediment and organics) and moisture flux.


• Gardiner, D. T. and Raymond, W. M. 2004. Soils in our environment, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
• Henry, D. Forth. 1990. Fundamentals of Soil science, John Wiley and Sons
• Knapp B.J.1979. Soil Processes, George Allen & Unwin
• Peter W. Birkeland. (1999) Soils and Geomorphology, Oxford University Press
• Schaetzl, R. and Anderson, S. 2005. Soils: Genesis and Geomorphology, Cambridge University Press.
• Weyman D. And Weyman V.1977. Landscape Processes: An introduction to Geomorphology, George Allen & Unwin

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