Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 99-104

First online:

Experimental assessment of wind erosion after soil stabilization treatments at Eneabba, Western Australia

  • David T. BellAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, University of Western Australia
  • , Daniel J. CarterAffiliated withWestern Australia Department of Agriculture
  • , Robert E. HetheringtonAffiliated withWestern Australia Department of Agriculture

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Wind tunnel experiments on rehabilitation surfaces at Eneabba, Western Australia evaluated the techniques used by Associated Minerals Consolidated Ltd. (AMC) and Allied Eneabba Ltd. (AEL) to stabilize regions being revegetated following heavy mineral sand mining.

Newly landscaped areas proved to be the most erodible, beginning to erode at 9 m sec−1 and producing a soil flux of 10 kg m−1 min−1 at 18 m sec−1 wind speeds. Sandier, more organically-rich, surfaces in the rehabilitation areas were somewhat less erodible with losses of only 2 kg m−1 min−1 at wind speeds of 18 m sec−1.

The mining companies use various nurse crops and top dressing mulch for surface stabilization. Rows of oats, sparse plantings of the grass cultivar “SUDAX” (Dekalb ST6) supplied by Westfarmers Ltd. and applications of Terolas, a cold, bituminous surface binding material supplied by Shell Co. of Australia Ltd., all proved successful in reducing wind erosion in this semi-arid region where more than 25% of summer days experience winds greater than 8 m sec−1.