Effects of freeze-thaw on soil properties and water erosion

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Freeze-thaw erosion occurs primarily at high latitudes and altitudes. Temperature controlled freeze-thaw events dislodge soil particles and serve as a catalyst for erosion. This review paper provided an overview of the effects of freeze-thaw on soil properties and water erosion. The process of freeze-thaw cycles results in temporary and inconsistent changes in the soil moisture, and affects the soil’s mechanical, physical and chemical properties, such as the soil moisture content, porosity, bulk density, aggregates stability, shear strength and organic matter content and so on. The variation trend and range of the soil properties were related to the soil texture, water content and freeze-thaw degree. Furthermore, the soil erosion was affected by the freeze-thaw processes, as thawing and water erosion reinforce each other. However, research of different experimental conditions on indoor simulations have numerous limitations compared with field experiments. The use of indoor and field experiments to further reveal the freeze-thaw effect on the soil erosion would facilitate improved forecasting.

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