Spatial Variability of Preferential Flow and Infiltration Redistribution along a Rocky-Mountain Hillslope, Northern China
Rock fragments in soil strongly increase the complexity of hydrological processes. Spatial variability of preferential flow and infiltration characteristics, especially along a rocky-mountain hillslope are poorly understood. In this study, five rainfall–dye tracer experiments were performed in the rocky Taihang Mountains, northern China, to investigate the spatial variability of preferential flow and infiltration redistribution on different hillslope positions. Tracers were used to distinguish
... sed to distinguish macropore flow and actual water flow patterns, and preferential flow indices and spatial non–uniformity of the infiltration redistribution were calculated using image analysis. Results showed increasing trends in the dye coverage, maximum infiltration depth, and steady infiltration rate with increased hillslope position, with a preferential flow fraction of 0.10, 0.11, 0.15, 0.29, and 0.26 for the bottom–, down–, mid–, upper–, and top–slope positions, respectively. With increased hillslope position, the spatial non–uniformity of the infiltration redistribution gradually increased in orthogonal and parallel directions to the stained section, and was supported by the fractal dimensions. Positive (gravel mass ratio, saturated water content, altitude, hydraulic conductivity and roots) and negative (bulk density and clay content) impacts on preferential flow and infiltration redistribution were quantitatively emphasized. The characteristic and mechanism of infiltration process were further identified along a rocky-mountain hillslope.