Comparative rates of wind versus water erosion from a small semiarid watershed in southern Arizona, USA

Y. G. Zhang, M. A. Nearing, B. Y. Liu, R. S. Van Pelt, J. J. Stone, H. Wei, R. L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The relative erosion rates of wind and water erosion have rarely been studied simultaneously and are poorly quantified. In this study, wind and water erosion rates were simultaneously measured and compared over 2yrs for a small rangeland watershed in the Santa Rita Experimental Range in southern Arizona. Average horizontal, wind-driven sediment flux was 7.0gm-1d-1 during the study period. The combined soil erosion rate by water and wind was 7.60tha-1yr-1, with only 0.08tha-1yr-1 attributed to wind during the 2yrs. The results of this study showed that rates of soil erosion by water greatly exceeded rates of erosion by wind during the study period in this small watershed. Comparison between these results and other recent studies in the same area suggest that measurements of horizontal sediment fluxes by wind and water are not necessarily indicative of relative net soil erosion rates on a unit area basis because the measurements of the wind flux sediment cannot be considered as mass of soil loss per unit area per unit time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalAeolian Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Erosion
  • MWAC
  • Rangelands
  • Sediment flux
  • Sediment yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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