In order to understand runoff generation processes on a forested hillslope involving large heterogeneities, this study monitored runoff from a steep hillslope with a thin soil layer as well as matric potential within it and analyzed their responses to storm rainfall. A comparison of storm runoff responses from the study slope with those from two adjacent catchments, one of which includes it, showed that physical properties of the slope reflected the runoff characteristics: although no responses occurred in very dry conditions because of the absence of wet zones near the stream, the area contributing to storm runoff more rapidly extended to the whole slope due to its topographic properties. They also caused its steep hydrographs produced in the wettest condition where almost all the rainfall contributed to storm runoff. In this wettest condition, tensiometric responses near bedrock showed the vertical quick propagation of the rainfall pulse, and a good agreement of storm hydrograph simulated through a kinematic wave runoff model suggested that runoff from the slope was produced by a lateral flow on the bedrock receiving the quick propagation. In a transition process from dry to the wettest conditions, the development of the lateral flow producing smaller responses at the downslope end was estimated from decreasing of matric potential near bedrock from high negative to low values with increasing cumulative rainfall.
Journal of Hydrology – Elsevier
Published: Dec 15, 1997
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