Investigating suspended sediment yield in Ziarat Drainage Basin, Gorgan in different seasons using sediment fingerprinting technique

Document Type : Research Article


1 Associate Professor, Faculty of Earth Science, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

2 MA Student in Geomorphology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


Soil erosion is the most serious and irreversible threat to sustainable development. According to the increasing rate of soil erosion and sediment yield, the current study aimed to determine relative contribution of sediment sources in Ziarat catchment in fall, winter and spring seasons using sediment fingerprinting technique. In this regard, 43 samples from sediment sources including rangeland and cultivated land as surface erosion and stream bank and road verges as sub-surface erosion as well as 14 samples of suspended sediment at outlet of catchment were collected and concentration of geochemical tracers, organic carbon and 137Cs were measured. The optimum set of tracers was selected using the Kruskal-Wallis H test and discriminant function analysis. Finally, the relative contribution of sediment sources was determined through mixing model in different seasons. The results showed that the maximum relative contribution was related to surface erosion in winter and spring seasons. Sub-surface erosion in spring season with 60.4% also caused a large amount of sediment yield. The results of this study can be used to select the management strategies in soil erosion and sediment control of Ziarat catchment in different seasons.


Main Subjects



    1-     Morgan, R. P. C, Duzant, J. H. Modified MMF (Morgan–Morgan–Finney) model for evaluating effects of crops and vegetation cover on soil erosion. Earth Surface Processes and Landform. 2008,3: 3(1): 90 - 106

    2-     Collins, A. L. Williams, L. J., Zhang, Y. S., Marius, M., Dungait, J. A. J., Smallman, D. J., Naden, P. S. Catchment source contributions to the sediment-bound organic matter degrading salmonid spawning gravels in a lowland river, southern England. Science of The Total Environment, 2001,3: 456: 181-195.

    1.     Russel M. A., Walling D. E., and Hodgkinson R. A. Suspende sediment sources in two small lowland agricultural catchments in UK. Journal of Hydrology, 2003:252, 1-24

    2.     Zapata F.. The use of environmental radionuclides as tracers in soil erosion and sedimentation investigation: Recent advances and future developments. Soil and tilage Research,2003: 69.3-13

    3.     Hakimkhani Sh.. Investigation use of tracers in sediment tracing fluviall sediment, Poldasht station. Master science thesis. 2007.[In persian].

    1. Koiter, A.,J., Lobb, D.A., Owens. P.N., Petticrew, E.L., Tiessen, K., Li, S.,. The behavioural characteris of sediment properties and their implications for sediment fingerprinting as an approach for identifying sediment sources in river basins. Earth sci. Rev. 2013. 125, 24-42
    2. Walling D.E., The evolution of sediment sources fingerprinting investigations in fluvial system. Soils Sediments 2013: 13:1658-1675
    3. Mabit L., Benmansour M., Abril J.M., Walling D,E., Meusburger K., Lurian A.R., Bernard C., Tarjan S., Owens P.N., Blake W.H., Alewell C. Fallout Pb210 as a soil and sediment tracering in catchment sediment budget investigation : a review Earth Sci. Rev. 2014:138:335-351
    4. Walling D. E.,. Tracing suspende sediment sources in catchments and rivers systems, Science of the Total Environment. 2005: 334:159-184
    5. Carreras N. M., Krein A., Gallart F., Iffly J. F., Pfister L., Haffman L., Owens P. N.,. Assessment of different parameter for discriminating potentioal suspende sediment sources and provenance: A multi scale study in Luxembourg. Geomorphology. 2010: 11:118-129
    6. Collins A.L., Walling D. E., Leeks G. J. L.,. Fingerprinting the origin of fluvial suspended sediment in larger river basin: Combining assessment of spatial provenance and source type. Geografiska Annaler. 1997: 79(a): 239-254
    7.  Nostrati, K., Ascribing soil erosion of hillslope components to river sediment yield. Journal of Environmental Management. 2017: 194: 63-72
    8. Tiecher T., Caner L., Minella J.P.G., Pellegrini A., Capoane V., Rasche J.W.A., Schaefer G.L., Rheinhimer D. Tracing sediment sources in two paired agricultural catchment with different riparian forest and wetland proportion in southern Brazil. Geoderma.2017:258:225-239
    9. Zhao G., Mu X., Han M., An Z., Gao P., Sun W., Xu W.,. Sediment yield and sources in dam-controlled watershed on the northern Loess Plateau. Catena 2017:149:110-119
    10. Du. P., Des E Walling.,. Fingerprinting surficial sources: Exploring some potential problems associated with the spatial variability of material properties. Journal of Environmental Management. 2017: 194 : 4-15
    11.  Garzon- Garcia A., Laceby J.P., Olley J.M., Bunn S.E., Differentiating the sources of fine sediment organic matter and nitrogen in a subtropical Australian catchment. Science of the total environment. 2017: 575: 1384-1394
    12. Collins, A. L., Williams , l., j., zhang y. s. marius m., dungait, j. a., smallman, d. j. et al.,. Catchment source contributions to the sediment-bound organic matter degrading salamonid apawing gravels in a lowland river, southern england. Science of the total environment, 2013: 456.181-195
    13. Cooper, R., Krueger, T., Hiscock, K, M., and Rawlins, Barry G. High-temporal resolution fluvial sediment source fingerprinting with uncertainty: a Bayesian approach. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2015:40: 78-92.
    14. Devereux, O, H., Prestegaard, K. L., Needelman, B. A., and Gellis, Allen C. Suspended-sediment sources in an urban watershed, Northeast Branch Anacostia River, Maryland. Hydrological Processes, 2012:24:1391-1403.
    15. Gruszowski, K. E., Foster, I. D. L., Lees, J. A., & Charlesworth, S. M. Sediment sources and transport pathways in a rural catchment, Herefordshire, UK. Hydrological Processes, 2013: 17: 2665-2681.
    16. Nosrati k, Govers G, Semmenes B.X, and Ward E,J.,. A mixing model to incorporate uncertainty in sediment fingerprinting. CATENA, 2014: 217: 173-180.
    17. Rowan, J. S., Black, S. and Franks, S. W. Sediment fingerprinting as an environmental forensics tool explaining cyanobacteria blooms in lakes. Applied Geography, 2013: 32: 832-843.
    18. D Haen K, Verstraeten G., Dusar B,. Degryse B., Heax J., Walkens M. Unravelling changing sediment sources in a Mediterranean mountain catchment Bayesian fingerprinting approach. HydrologicalProcesses. 2013: 27:896-927.
    19. Carter, J., Owens, P N., Walling, D, E., and Leeks, Graham J. L. Fingerprinting suspended sediment sources in a large urban river system. Science of The Total Environment, 2003: 14: 513-534.
    20. Hakimkhani Sh., invetigatd of relative contribution of erosion typs in sediment yield. GhareAgaj, Maku, Journal of Natural Resource. 2001. 63-13-27,.[In persia].
    21. Olley J., Burton J., Smolders K., Pantus F., and Pietsch T. The application of fallout radionnuclides to determine erosion process in water supply catchments of subtropical South-east Queensland, Australlia.  Hydrological Processes, 2012:27:62-70
    22. He, Q., and Walling, D. E. The distribution of fallout 137 Cs and 210 Pb in undisturbed and cultivated soils. Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 1997: 48(5), 677-690.
    23. Ownes, P. N., Walling. D.E.,. Spatial variability of cesium-137 inventories a: reference sites: an example from two contrasting sites in England and Zimbabwe. Appl. Radiate. Isot. 1996:47,699-707.
    24. Collins A.L., Walling D.E., Sichingabula H.M., Suspended sediment source fingerprinting in small tropical catchment and managment implications,.  Applied Geography, 2001: 21:387-412.
    25. Motha J.A., Wallbrink P.J., Hairsine P.B,. and Grayson R. B.. Determining the sources of suspende sediment in forested catchment in southeastern Australia. Water Resources Reasearch. 2003: 39(3): 1056-1070
    26. Wallbrink, PJ, Murray, AS, Olley, JM, & Olive, LJ.. Determining sources and transit times of suspended sediment in the Murrumbidgee River, New South Wales, Australia, using fallout 137Cs and 210Pb. Water Resources Research, 1998:34(4), 879-887.
    27. Caitcheon G. G, Olley J. M., Pantus F., Hancock G., and Leslie C.. The dominant erosion processes supplying fine sediment to three major rivers in tropical Australia. Geomorphology, 2012: 151-152. Pp.188-195


Volume 4, Issue 3
September 2017
Pages 887-895
  • Receive Date: 16 May 2017
  • Revise Date: 08 July 2017
  • Accept Date: 20 June 2017
  • First Publish Date: 23 September 2017