Short-term hydrological responses of a forested hillslope during rainstorms, at Panola Mountain Research Watershed, Georgia, USA.

  • Elizabeth B Ratcliffe

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


A small-scale filed experiment was conducted on a hillslope plot within the Georgia Piedmont, USA, with the aim of elucidating the hydrological processes which generate storm runoff and its chemistry. Intensive hydrometric and chemical sampling enabled the collection of detailed observations of hillslope processes during rainstorms. The passage of water was traced through a one-dimensional profile in the hillslope, where rainfall, throughfall, forest floor soil water, soil water at 15, 40, 50 and 70 cm depths, groundwaters and streamwaters were monitored, either manually or automatically. Chemical samples for each water type were also collected. From analysis of hydrometric data, several hydrological flowpaths were detected that contribute water to storm runoff. Direct channel rainfall is operative in all storms, although its detection is difficult. Overland flow is in operation at some locations on the hillslope, specially in topographic lows. Macropore and mesopore flow occurred and may lead to groundwater displacement. Groundwater ridging also occurred. Each flowpath was found to vary in its operation, according to a series of controls, namely seasonality, antecedent moisture conditions, rainfall magnitude, duration and intensity, and the timing between rainstorms. Conservative tracers (chloride and temperature) were employed to investigate the contribution of 'old' and 'new' water to storm runoff. The variation in chloride concentrations in samples collected either sequentially or manually at each flowpath was monitored throughout storms. Rainfall, comprising 'new' water, was found to exhibit a distinct chloride chemistry. Most samples contained
Date of Award1996
Original languageEnglish


  • Macropore flow

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