Recent work in an Australian catchment has shown that severe wildfires followed by rainstorm events lead to redistribution of topsoil and export of sediment to the local river network. Considering the affinity of nutrients and other contaminants for fine sediment, and the potential for considerable downstream impacts, a sound understanding of the fine-sediment delivery from burnt systems is required. However, past work has shown that fire can modify the particle size distribution of the soil through formation of robust sand-sized aggregates comprising fine clays and silts. Image analysis confirmed the presence of fire-modified soil aggregates in our study area. Analysis of aggregate form and fluvial behaviour showed that fire-modified aggregates are fused, dense and inorganic in nature with settling velocities of an order of magnitude faster than unburat soil aggregates or classic riverine flocs. This implies an increased potential for storage of nutrient-rich fine sediment within slope units, flood plains and river channels. The unusual behaviour of these composite particles should be considered in the construction of post-fire fine-sediment budgets.
|Title of host publication||IAHS Publication 291|
|Editors||Desmond E. Walling, Arthur J. Horowitz|
|Place of Publication||Wallingford, UK|
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
|Event||Sediment Budgets 1 - Foz do Iguacu, Brazil|
Duration: 2 Apr 2005 → 9 Apr 2005
|Conference||Sediment Budgets 1|
|City||Foz do Iguacu|
|Period||2/04/05 → 9/04/05|
Humphreys, G., Blake, W. H., Droppo, I. G., Wallbrink, P. J., Doerr, S. H., & Shakesby, R. A. (2005). Impacts of wildfire on effective sediment particle size: implications for post-fire sediment budgets. In D. E. Walling, & A. J. Horowitz (Eds.), IAHS Publication 291 (pp. 143-150). Wallingford, UK: IAHS Press.