A 0.3028‐ha watershed has been instrumented to monitor streamflow and subsurface flow through the soil mantle at a variety of topographic locations. The watershed is forested, with steep (35°) slopes and shallow (average 55 cm) soils on impermeable Old Man gravels. Data for a number of storms indicate that subsurface flow via ‘macropores’ (root channels, pipes) and seepage zones in the soil is the predominant mechanism of channel stormflow generation in storms with quickflows greater than about 1 mm. Subsurface flow from all parts of the watershed appears to contribute to stormflow even in very small storms (quickflow of the order of 3% of net precipitation). The saturated hydraulic conductivity of the soil matrix is not a limiting factor on the ability of subsurface flow to generate channel stormflow, because dye tracer experiments demonstrate that water may move through macropores (particularly root channels) at rates 2 orders of magnitude greater. However, subsurface flow from lower slope areas contributes to delayed flow; cessation of subsurface flow and Streamflow after a drought period is roughly coincident in time. In the study area it appears that streamflow is at almost all times dominated by subsurface flow and that runoff from partial and variable source areas contributes significant quantities of streamflow only during the rising limb of small (less than 1 mm of quickflow) flood hydrographs.
Water Resources Research – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 1979
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