Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 31, pp 32559–32573 | Cite as

Effects of rainfall intensity and slope gradient on runoff and sediment yield from hillslopes with weathered granite

  • Longzhou Deng
  • Liping ZhangEmail author
  • Xiaojuan Fan
  • Tianyu Sun
  • Kai Fei
  • Liang Ni
Research Article


The method of indoor artificial rainfall simulations was applied to compare the characteristics of runoff and sediment yield under different slope gradients (5°, 8°, 15°, and 25°) and rainfall intensities (30, 60, 90, 120, and 150 mm/h) for two kinds of different hillslopes with weathered granite and with exposed soils respectively from the laterite layer (L-soil) and sand layer (S-soil). The results show that the distribution of runoff yield significantly varied with soil types as the surface flow was predominant for L-soil while interflow was the main runoff form for S-soil. Both surface flow and sediment yield of L-soil was more than that of S-soil, and the changing trends for L-soil were more regular. The relationships between surface flow, sediment yield, and rainfall intensity can be expressed by power functions (R2 > 0.68). Interflow was positively related to slope gradient and displayed a single peak curve with the prolongation of runoff time. For S-soil, the surface flow increased with increasing slope gradient under light rainfall intensities but showed a decreasing trend under heavy rainfall intensities. Surface flow for L-soil showed a decreasing trend with increasing slope gradient under all rainfall intensities. The combined effects of slope gradient and rainfall intensity on runoff and sediment yield could be accurately described by linear correlation equations (R2 > 0.59). The impact of rainfall intensity on surface flow and sediment yield was much greater than that of slope gradient. Slope gradient presented a more significant effect on interflow. The eroded sediment consisted of a relatively higher content of clay, silt, and fine sand, which was approximately 1.26 times greater than the original soils. There was a grading limit of particle size (0.25 mm) for sediment transport. These results not only demonstrate the effects of rainfall intensity and slope gradient on sloping runoff and sediment yield but also provide valuable information for loss prediction and conservation of soil and water.


Slope with weathered granite Rainfall intensity Slope gradient Surface flow Interflow Eroded sediment Artificial simulated rainfall 


Funding information

This research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41877065).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Agricultural Resources and EnvironmentHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Agricultural Experiment Station of Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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