Sediment Transport by Splashing
Back when I had a quasi-nice winter garden going, I spent some time thinking about splashback. After a good rain, the lower bits of my plants were always heavily dirt-spattered; this helps spread soil-borne diseases, especially fungal spores, and people on gardening forums were always advising the use of prophylactic mulch.
But I never thought about splashing as an important mechanism of erosion. Cue the squealy foreshadowing violins here, because that was my mistake! [Ominous descending notes! Dunh-dunh-dunnnnnh!].
A paper by David Jon Furbish and colleagues, published recently in JGR Earth Surface, describes the effect of raindrops on sand, as observed with a high-speed camera. The paper’s conclusions strike my non-geomorphologist self as potentially useful to someone, somewhere, but not tremendously earthshattering (this entire process can be described with math! Gasp! Shock!), so why do I blog it? The pictures are pretty.