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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Design of a Tilting Flume for Testing Frozen Soil Erosion

Authors
item Cuhaciyan, Christopher - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Wu, Joan - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Place, Maya - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item McCool, Donald
item Palmer, Charles - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural Engineers Meetings Papers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 20, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The soils of the Northwestern Wheat and Range Region (NWRR) are highly susceptible to water erosion. Past studies show that most water erosion in this area is related to rain on frozen or thawing soils and is often exacerbated by warm, moist Pacific air masses that cause precipitation and rapid thaw. Nevertheless, the effect of freeze/thaw cycles on soil strength remains the least understood aspect of the water erosion process. To better understand this phenomenon, a tilting flume was built and tested in a previous study at the USDA-ARS Palouse Conservation Field Station (PCFS) near Pullman, WA. In the current study, a new flume was designed and constructed to minimize soil preparation and freezing and thawing times, maximize flume life expectancy, and expand flume uses. Three avenues were taken: analyzing previous flume's deficiencies; designing, constructing, and testing a small-scale consolidation model; and applying modern materials. The flume has been installed at the PCFS and experiments on frozen soil will soon be underway.

Technical Abstract: The soils of the Northwestern Wheat and Range Region (NWRR) are highly susceptible to water erosion. Past studies show that most water erosion in this area is related to rain on frozen or thawing soils and is often exacerbated by warm, moist Pacific air masses that cause precipitation and rapid thaw. Nevertheless, the effect of freeze/thaw cycles on soil strength remains the least understood aspect of the water erosion process. To better understand this phenomenon, a tilting flume was built and tested in a previous study at the USDA-ARS Palouse Conservation Field Station (PCFS) near Pullman, WA. Though a success in principle, the flume had two major limitations: excessive soil preparation time and short life expectancy. Soil preparation, involving soil saturation, drainage, freezing and thawing, is necessary to consolidate the soil and create near-natural conditions. In this study, a new flume was designed and constructed to minimize soil preparation and freezing and thawing times, maximize flume life expectancy, and expand flume uses. Three avenues were taken: analyzing previous flume's deficiencies; designing, constructing, and testing a small-scale consolidation model; and applying modern materials. The flume has been installed at the PCFS and experimentation on frozen soil will soon be underway.

Last Modified: 12/27/2014
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