Evaluation of soil erosion using the rainsplash technique

J. L. Smith, M. R. Davieau, S. K. Bhatia

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Soil erosion by raindrop impact is an important source of soil erosion from slopes and other non-concentrated flow areas. Vegetation is one of the most effective ways for minimizing soil erosion by raindrop impact. Ground covers, such as mulches, rock, and rolled erosion control products (RECPs) are also effective in reducing the effects of raindrop impact by limiting the amount of soil exposed. This paper presents the results of a laboratory study that compares the rainsplash performance of 4 different RECPs (wood excelsior, coconut, jute, and polypropylene (PP)), with and without vegetation, using a rainsplash simulator. The results are used to evaluate the contribution of vegetation and the role of RECPs in minimizing soil erosion. Based on the results of 44 tests, it was found that the use of RECPs on bare soil slopes reduces soil losses by 74% to 91%. The use of vegetation in combination with RECPs further reduces soil losses by 95% to 99%. Rainsplash tests provide a useful venue for comparing the performance of RECPs and vegetation and the effects of different RECP index properties on soil loss results. It is recommended that rainsplash results be validated with large-scale ASTM testing and field results. Copyright ASCE 2007.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5
Number of pages1
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue number167
StatePublished - 2007
EventGeo-Denver 2007: New Peaks in Geotechnics - Denver, CO, United States
Duration: Feb 18 2007Feb 21 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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