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Lecture 5: Singapore Soils and Soil Erosion

Lecture 5: Singapore Soils and Soil Erosion

Topics covered in Lecture 5

What is natural soil? What is urban soil?

in Lecture 5 What is natural soil? What is urban soil? • Soil formation • Factors

Soil formation

Factors determining its formation

Characteristics of soil

Soil classification

Soils and soil erosion in Singapore

Basic concepts What is soil?

Bedrock: the unaltered rock below the regolith

Regolith: the loose uncon-

solidated rock.

Soil: The loose surface layer

of earth that supports the

growth of vegetation.

rock. Soil: The loose surface layer of earth that supports the growth of vegetation. (after Strahler

(after Strahler and Strahler, 1992)

Basic concepts What is soil?

Soil profiles: a vertical cross section through the

soil. Sequence of layers of soils.

Horizons: distinctive layers of soil, approximately

parallel to the surface of the ground that has its own distinctive characteristics due to soil-forming

processes.

Typical soil profile

O: Fresh to partly decomposed

organic matter

profile • O: Fresh to partly decomposed organic matter • A: Mineral soil mixed with humus;

A: Mineral soil mixed with humus; dark colored.

E: Zone of leaching of clay, iron, and

aluminum, leaving residual minerals such as quartz in sand and silt. Lighter color than A.

B: Zone of accumulation of clay,

iron, and aluminum. Colors more intense than overlying and underlying layers.

C: Relatively unweathered

unconsolidated minerals. Much less biological activity. May be stained

by oxides.

(after Srahler and Strahler, 1992)

Learn this

Examples of soils from Singapore

Examples of soils from Singapore U l t i s o l O x y s

Ultisol

Examples of soils from Singapore U l t i s o l O x y s

Oxysol

of soils from Singapore U l t i s o l O x y s o

Inceptisol

http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/soil_systems/Soil_orders_p2.html

Soil formation - Weathering

Physical (disintegration of original rock)

Chemical (decomposition of original rock)

Biological (decomposition of original rock)

Soil formation Physical (or mechanical) weathering

Disintegration caused by imposed stresses on rock.

Alternate temperatures (heating and cooling)

Alternate wetting and drying

Plant roots

Exfoliated granite boulder, P. Tioman

(heating and cooling) • Alternate wetting and drying • Plant roots Exfoliated granite boulder, P. Tioman

Plant roots

Weathering on top of Bukit Timah

Weathering on top of Bukit Timah A combination of physical, chemical and biological weathering on a

A combination of physical, chemical and biological weathering on a “core” boulder of Bukit Timah Granite

Soil formation Chemical weathering

The alteration of the chemical and mineralogical

composition of the weathered material.

Solution, Hydration, Hydrolysis

Oxidation/reduction

Carbonation

Role of temperature (reaction rate) and water

(catalyst).

Chemical weathering of Bukit Timah Granite

“Core” boulders

Chemically weathered granite
Chemically weathered granite

Disintegrated granite debris, Mainly resistant quartz after feldspars and biotite have decomposed and the resultant clays have been washed away

Dairy Farm Quarry: granite outcrop
Dairy Farm Quarry: granite outcrop

Relict granite

boulders

have decomposed and the resultant clays have been washed away Dairy Farm Quarry: granite outcrop Relict
have decomposed and the resultant clays have been washed away Dairy Farm Quarry: granite outcrop Relict

Granite boulder excavated from acid soil

Non-porous

fresh granite

boulder excavated from acid soil Non-porous fresh granite Hard Progressive chemical weathering of Bukit Temah Granite

Hard

Progressive chemical weathering of Bukit Temah Granite (Wallace Env’ Centre)

Feldspars weathered out

Crumbly

Transition

Hard

Permeable

granite

Chemical weathering of Bukit Timah granite

Acid rain + granite = clay

Potassium feldspar (in granite)

During hydrolysis hydrogen

ions react with and replace

positive ions in potassium feldspar

react with and replace positive ions in potassium feldspar – The result is clay minerals and
react with and replace positive ions in potassium feldspar – The result is clay minerals and

The result is clay minerals and

substances in solution such as

potassium and silica.

Clays are transported away & deposited as mud

Resistant quartz transported

away and deposited as sand

Soil formation Biological weathering

Biological agents are organisms like bacteria, plants and animals;

Breaking of particles and mixing of materials by animals;

Chemical processes like solution can be enhanced by the

carbon dioxide produced by respiration;

Organisms can influence the pH of the soil solution;

Chelation : a biological process where organism produce

organic substances that have the ability to decompose

minerals and rocks: e.g. humic and fulvic acids

Biological weathering in soils

From decomposed plants
From decomposed plants
Biological weathering in soils From decomposed plants Much more potent than acid rain From decomposed animals
Biological weathering in soils From decomposed plants Much more potent than acid rain From decomposed animals

Much more potent than acid rain

From decomposed animals

Biological activity in soil

Biological activity in soil Root hair An illustration of soil biology. A= Amoeba consuming bacteria; BL=Energy

Root hair

An illustration of soil biology. A=Amoeba consuming bacteria; BL=Energy limited bacteria; BU=Non-energy limited bacteria; RC=Root derived carbon; SR=Sloughed root hair cells; F=Fungal hyphae; N=Nematode worm

Giri, B.; Giang, P. H.; Kumari, R.; Prasad, R.; Varma, A. (2005). "Microbial Diversity in Soils". Microorganisms in Soils: Roles in Genesis and Functions. Soil Biology.

What is soil made up of?

Solid: inorganic (mineral)

and organic materials.

Liquid: water but with various ions (soil solution).

Gases: atmospheric gases

and the gases liberated by

biological activity and

chemical reactions within

soil.

solution). Gases: atmospheric gases and the gases liberated by biological activity and chemical reactions within soil.
solution). Gases: atmospheric gases and the gases liberated by biological activity and chemical reactions within soil.

What is soil made up of ? Let us look in closer :

Primary minerals: the original silicate minerals of igneous rock (quartz, feldspar, mica, hornblende, pyroxene).

Secondary minerals: mainly clay minerals (vermiculite, illite, kaolinite, limonite, hematite, gibbsite Al(OH) 3 boehmite γ-AlO(OH), and diaspore α-AlO(OH))

The relative mobility of the major constitutes released during weathering:

Ca 2+ > Mg 2+

> Na +

> K + > Fe 2+

> Si 4+

> Fe 3+

> Al 3+

Soil gases

Nitrogen (N 2 ): 79%

Oxygen (O 2 ): 20%

Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ): 0.25% (much higher than in air)

Other gases:

methane, ethane, hydrogen sulfide and nitrous oxide.

Carbon dioxide has direct reactions affecting clay

minerals and carbonate

minerals in soil because of

H 2 O + CO 2 H -

(Carbonic acid)

H 2 CO 3

+ HCO 3

-

Soil properties

Physical properties: soil color, bulk density, soil texture, soil structure, soil water, aeration,

compaction, soil drainage etc.

Chemical properties: soil nutrients, cation exchange, soil pH etc.

Biological properties: soil organisms, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, rhizosphere ……(the biologically active layer).

nitrogen cycle, rhizosphere ……(the biologically active layer). Source: http://www.cspoutdoors.com/munsoilcolch.html

Source: http://www.cspoutdoors.com/munsoilcolch.html

Soil properties physical properties

Soil color: determined by standard color chart (Munsell).

Bulk density: mass of a unit volume of dry soil.

Soil texture: determined by % of sand, silt and clay.

Soil structure: presence of aggregations (lumps or clusters) of soil particles.

Soil properties chemical properties

Soil colloids: very fine clay (<0.01 microns or 0.0001 mm).

Colloids are chemically active because of their great surface area.

Cation exchange: the substitution of one cation for another of a different element in a mineral structure.

CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity): the capacity of a given quantity of soil to hold and exchange cations.

These surfaces characteristically carry negative and/or positive charges that influence the attraction and repulsion of the particles toward each other and that attract (adsorb) swarms of ions of the opposite charge along with numerous water molecules. The adsorbed ions are subject to exchange with plant roots thereby providing plants with most of their essential mineral elements.

Kaolinite clay plates

of their essential mineral elements. Kaolinite clay plates Cations important to plant nutrients: Calcium Ca 2
of their essential mineral elements. Kaolinite clay plates Cations important to plant nutrients: Calcium Ca 2

Cations important to plant nutrients:

Calcium Ca 2+ Magnesium Mg 2+ Potassium K + Sodium Na +

(Source:

Soil classification systems

FAO/UNESCO (1974): The Soil Map of the World

US Dept of AgricSoil Survey Staff (1975): Soil Taxonomy

systems FAO/UNESCO (1974): The Soil Map of the World US Dept of Agric ’ Soil Survey

Soil orders in the second Soil Taxonomy (1999)

Gelisols: soils with permafrost within 2 m of the surface

Histosols: thick layer of organic matters

Spodosols: cold, moist climates

Andisols: soils formed in volcanic cash

Oxisols: (sub)tropical, highly weathered

Vertisols: (sub)tropical with very high clay

Aridisols: dry climates

Ultisols: (sub)tropical

Mollisols: semiarid and subhumid

Alfisols: humid and subhumid climates

Inceptisols: weakly developed horizons

Entisols: soil lacking horizons

http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/soil_systems/soil_orders_p1.html

Utisol: Most common natural soil in Singapore

Ultisols (from Latin ultimus, "last") are strongly leached, acid forest soils with relatively low

native fertility. They are found primarily in humid temperate and tropical areas, typically on

older, stable landscapes. Intense weathering of primary minerals has occurred, and much Ca, Mg, and K has been leached from these soils. Ultisols have a subsurface horizon in which clays have accumulated, often with strong yellowish or reddish colors resulting from the presence of Fe oxides. (On Bukit Timah Granite and Gombak Gabbro)

of Fe oxides. (On Bukit Timah Granite and Gombak Gabbro) http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/soilorders/i/worldorders.jpg
Minerals + humus Oxidation Accumulation of clay, Fe and Al
Minerals + humus
Oxidation
Accumulation of clay,
Fe and Al

Oxisol

Oxisols (from French oxide, "oxide") are very highly weathered soils that are found

primarily in the inter-tropical regions of the world. These soils contain few weatherable

minerals and are often rich in Fe and Al oxide minerals. Note the organic layer.

rich in Fe and Al oxide minerals. Note the organic layer. http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/soilorders/i/worldorders.jpg O

O Organic-rich

A Mins + organics

B Clay + Fe + Al

accumulation

Inceptisol

Inceptisols (from Latin inceptum, "beginning") are soils that exhibit minimal horizon development. They lack the features that are characteristic of other soil orders. They are found on steep slopes, young geomorphic surfaces, and on resistant parent materials (eg. Jurong Fm, sandstone ridges).

on resistant parent materials (eg. Jurong Fm, sandstone ridges). http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/soilorders/i/worldorders.jpg
on resistant parent materials (eg. Jurong Fm, sandstone ridges). http://soils.cals.uidaho.edu/soilorders/i/worldorders.jpg

Entisols formed on Pulau Tekong landfill

Entisols formed on Pulau Tekong landfill Pioneer grasses have taken root in the loose sand. There
Entisols formed on Pulau Tekong landfill Pioneer grasses have taken root in the loose sand. There
Entisols formed on Pulau Tekong landfill Pioneer grasses have taken root in the loose sand. There
Entisols formed on Pulau Tekong landfill Pioneer grasses have taken root in the loose sand. There

Pioneer grasses have taken root in the loose sand. There has not been enough time for soil horizons to form yet

Soils and Singapore What is the role of soil in Singapore?

To support vegetation growth, though less

agriculture.

Horticulture (landscape gardening, re-vegetation, Singapore Garden City)

Catchment protection/water retension

Soils on reclaimed land

Slope protection

Bukit Timah Granite: Dairy Farm Quarry

10 m Soil Rock
10 m
Soil
Rock

Oxisols formed on Bukit Timah Granite

Soil-forming conditions in Singapore

Humid tropical climate (hot and wet)

Deeply weathered mantle down to 50m

Rapid decomposition of organic matter

Intense biological activity

Ultisol
Ultisol

Litter layer

• Intense biological activity Ultisol Litter layer Oxisol Deep Fe-Al weathering of Bukit Temah Granite with

Oxisol

Deep Fe-Al weathering of Bukit Temah Granite with granite the formation of core-stones

Soils in Singapore natural soils

Sedimentary rocks (e.g. Jurong Formation)

Fined grained sedimentary mudstones contain a lot of weatherable clay minerals. End up as oxisols or ultisols.

Coarse grained sedimentary sandstone and conglomerate rocks

with siliceous cement and quartzite will have slow weathering

rates.

Inceptisols form on steep slopes along the flanks of ridges.

Soils formed on the sides of Jurong Formation sandstone ridges are very prone to slope failure.

Soils in Singapore natural soils

Alluvial material (e.g. Old and New Alluvium)

Old Alluvium is the second youngest geological formation in Singapore (1-2 Ma).

Semi-lithified sedimentary material. Dominated by quartz, low intensity of weathering.

High sand content on the surface (coarse texture) with increasing

amounts of clays as you go deeper.

Generally, thicker soil profile compared to other major soil series. Oxysols & utisols

(Cai, 2012)

Oxisols: Chemical weathering down to ~20 m

(Hougang)

Soil Map 1975
Soil Map 1975

Soil Map of Singapore, Ives (1977)

Geology Map of Singapore

Murai

Slate

Punggol Point

s P. Ubin

Pulau Tekong

s

v

Kent Ridge

Sentosa

North

.
.

St John’s Is

10 km scale

s v Kent Ridge Sentosa North . St John’s Is 10 km scale Geology after Lee

Geology after Lee and Zhou (2009)

KEY

Recent alluvium and land-fill

Old Alluvium

Jurong FormationZhou (2009) KEY Recent alluvium and land-fill Old Alluvium Andesitic volcanics (v) + Sajahat Fm sediments

Recent alluvium and land-fill Old Alluvium Jurong Formation Andesitic volcanics (v) + Sajahat Fm sediments (s)

Andesitic volcanics (v)

+ Sajahat Fm sediments (s)

GraniteKEY Recent alluvium and land-fill Old Alluvium Jurong Formation Andesitic volcanics (v) + Sajahat Fm sediments

Gabbro

In the Central Library (Granite) (In between) (Gabbro) (Mudstone ) (Sandstone) (Mixed) (Old Alluvium) (Young
In the Central Library (Granite) (In between) (Gabbro) (Mudstone ) (Sandstone) (Mixed) (Old Alluvium) (Young

In the Central Library

(Granite)

(In between)

(Gabbro)

(Mudstone)

(Sandstone)

(Mixed)

(Old

Alluvium)

(Young

Alluvium)

Soils in Singapore characteristics of natural soils

Mineralogy: mainly quartz (Wells, 1977), very little feldspar

Particle size distribution: mostly sand and clay-sized particles

Soil structure: best aggregation is with igneous rocks.

Hydrological properties: generally quite high permeability 1-16x10 -5 cm/hr

Moisture retention: generally don’t stay saturated.

Soil chemistry: oxidised, acidic soils, lowest pH is at the surface horizon, pH

increases with depth.

Cation Exchange Capacity is very low. Youngest soils have lowest CEC.

Poor nutrient content. Heavily leached, low organic matter, compacted.

Fertility quickly exhausted by agriculture.

Soils in Singapore – reality Our soils are highly modified. Usually consists of B or
Soils in Singapore – reality Our soils are highly modified. Usually consists of B or

Soils in Singapore reality

Our soils are highly modified.

Usually consists of B or C horizon soil mixed with construction debris + ‘imported’ soil (imported soil which is from some subsurface horizon or mixed with sludge,

organic debris)

subsurface horizon or mixed with sludge, organic debris) Clayey soils are common in Singapore Water logged

Clayey soils are common in Singapore Water logged when wet, hard when dry.

Reworked urban soils

Reworked urban soils Organic Litter Clay Trench in front of NUS Geography Department:

Organic Litter Clay

Reworked urban soils Organic Litter Clay Trench in front of NUS Geography Department:
Reworked urban soils Organic Litter Clay Trench in front of NUS Geography Department:

Trench in front of NUS Geography Department:

Anthrosols: reworked natural soils

Landuse
Landuse

Readings

Basic reading:

Chapter 3 Thomas, GSP (1991) Geology and Geomorphology, The Biophysical Environment of Singapore. Pg 74-83.

--*Ch. 4. Rahman (1991). Soils, The Biophysical Environment of Singapore. Read entire chapter. Quite technical in parts.

--Jim CY. 1998.Urban soil characteristics and limitations for landscape planting in Hong Kong. Landscape and Urban Planning.

In-depth reading:

--Ch. 5. Rahman. Soils of Singapore. In Gupta and Pitts. 1992. Physical adjustments in a Changing Landscape.

--Craul PJ. 1992. Urban Soil in Landscape Design. John Wiley & Sons.

Slope hydrological processes

Interception

Through fall

Stem flow

Infiltration

Evapotranspiration

Depression storage

Overland flow

(surface runoff)

Subsurface flow

• Infiltration • Evapotranspiration • Depression storage • Overland flow (surface runoff) • Subsurface flow

Soil erosion on slopes

Normal slope erosion: the slow removal of soil (part of the natural

geologic process of landmass

denudation)

erosion rates < soil formation rates

(geological norm)

Rainsplash

Slope wash

(sheet flow)

Rills

Gullies

Accelerated slope erosion: speed up

by human activities or by rare natural

events (forest fire, landslide)

When erosion rates > soil formation rates = soil erosion

Rain splash

Raindrops possess kinetic energy by virtue of their mass and velocity;

Both slope gradient and surface

characteristics influence the effectiveness of rain splash erosion;

Rain splash is most effective when it is combined with slope wash;

Rain splash can create a thin surface crust which contributes to slope wash by lowering

infiltration capacity.

wash; • Rain splash can create a thin surface crust which contributes to slope wash by

Slope wash

Sheet flow : the

movement of water

across a slope

surface. It can move clay, silt, sand or

gravel particles.

Concentrated overland flow erodes

rills and gullies

can move clay, silt, sand or gravel particles. • Concentrated overland flow erodes rills and gullies

Concentrated flow

can move clay, silt, sand or gravel particles. • Concentrated overland flow erodes rills and gullies
can move clay, silt, sand or gravel particles. • Concentrated overland flow erodes rills and gullies

Rills

Sustained concentrated flow

can produce rills,

microchannels a few cm in depth and

width;

Rills often occurs on steep slopes with poor vegetative

cover.

rills, microchannels a few cm in depth and width; • Rills often occurs on steep slopes
rills, microchannels a few cm in depth and width; • Rills often occurs on steep slopes

Gullies

Gully erosion: Dover Crescent/Dover Rd. People taking a short cut

erosion: Dover Crescent/Dover Rd. People taking a short cut Gullies form a permanent part of a

Gullies form a permanent part of a channel network. Gullies are more fluvial than slope.

Rd. People taking a short cut Gullies form a permanent part of a channel network. Gullies

Soil erosion quantifications

Hard to quantify because of the slow

process

Little information compared to rivers

Erosion pins & tree roots

Erosion plots

Erosion model:

Universal Soil Loss

Equation (USLE)

Erosion pins

Erosion pins measure soil surface level

changes.

Pins can be made of materials which will not

rot or decay.

Tree roots

Measuring the height of the

exposed tree/crop roots;

Estimating the age of the trees from tree-ring counts.

Tree roots Measuring the height of the exposed tree/crop roots; Estimating the age of the trees
Tree roots Measuring the height of the exposed tree/crop roots; Estimating the age of the trees

Erosion plots

A bounded small area with various sizes

Small watershed

Erosion plots • A bounded small area with various sizes • Small watershed

Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE)

A= R*K*LS*C*P (Wischmeier and Smith, 1958; 1978) for agricultural land.

A: annual soil loss per unit area

R: rainfall factor measuring the erosive potential of average annual rainfall K: soil erodibility factor L and S: geomorphic factors of slope length (L) and slope inclination (S) C: cropping factor or vegetation cover P: soil conservation factor.

The factors influencing soil erosion

R: Rainfall (erosivity)

Amount of rainfall

Intensity of rainfall

K: Soils (erodibility)

Soil texture

Organic matter

Soil structures

Compaction

LS: Terrain

Slope angle

Slope length

Slope forms

C: Vegetation

Type

Canopy cover

Ground cover

P: Soil conservation

factor

Soil erosion in Singapore

Urbanization stages: Wolman (1967) proposed three- phase of urbanization:

an initial undisturbed forest

an intermediate stage of urban construction

a fully urbanized region

Brief overview of soil erosion under the 3 different land

uses

Soil erosion in nature reserves

Soil erosion in construction sites

Soil erosion in urban areas

Soil erosion in the nature reserves • Rainforest at Bukit Timah: – Canopy 25-34 m

Soil erosion in the nature reserves

Rainforest at Bukit Timah:

Canopy 25-34 m high

Sub-canopy 5-20 m

Shrub layer

Leaf litter thickness is 2-3

cm

5-20 m – Shrub layer – Leaf litter thickness is 2-3 cm • Splash as main

Splash as main erosion form

Stemflow can trigger overland flow

Erosion on trails

Soil erosion on Bukit Timah

Secondary forest on Bukit Timah

Start of erosion along a footpath Continued erosion along a footpath has formed a new
Start of erosion
along a footpath
Continued erosion
along a footpath has
formed a new stream
bed! Bukit Timah Nature
Reserve is now closed for
“repairs” (i.e. insertion of
board walks)

A trail in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

A trail in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Steps on the footpath slows erosion, still becomes a

Steps on the footpath slows erosion, still becomes a stream bed.

Soil erosion in construction sites

Heavy compaction

Loose materials

Long duration

Rills

Regulation in Singapore:

PUB’s code: 50 mg

sediment per liter (50 mg/l) of run-off water. Is it too

high or too low?

in Singapore: PUB’s code: 50 mg sediment per liter (50 mg/l) of run-off water. Is it

NUS

NUS

Soil erosion in urban areas

Engineered slopes

Green areas along roads

At bus stops

Barren short cut trails

Underneath heavy canopy trees

Erosion on engineered slopes

Heavy compaction

Removal of top soils

Steep slopes

Impact of trees

engineered slopes • Heavy compaction • Removal of top soils • Steep slopes • Impact of

Gillman Heights

Erosion on green belts & at bus stops (no tree protection)

Erosion on green belts & at bus stops (no tree protection) AYE Express Bus stop in

AYE Express

Erosion on green belts & at bus stops (no tree protection) AYE Express Bus stop in

Bus stop in NUH Food Enclave

• Grass cover: around 40% • Poor grass & erosion patches: 5-10%

Grass cover: around 40%

Effects of soil erosion

On-site effects: loss of soil deteriorates soil

quality and hence poor

vegetation;

Off-site effects:

siltation/sedimentation,

water quality (fresh and

coast water and marine environment etc).

water quality (fresh and coast water and marine environment etc). Siltwater treatment facility in the Singapore

Siltwater treatment facility in the Singapore River

How to minimise soil erosion?

Proper urban design

(e.g. minimize slope

modification, site

selection etc)?

Management of the

engineered landscape

(e.g. soils and

vegetation etc) ?

People’s awareness

(e.g. trampling, leaf

litter, Cow Grass cut etc).

awareness (e.g. trampling, leaf litter, Cow Grass cut etc). Removal of leaf litter Grass-cutting on steep
awareness (e.g. trampling, leaf litter, Cow Grass cut etc). Removal of leaf litter Grass-cutting on steep

Removal of leaf litter

Grass-cutting on steep slopes

How urban design can help

How urban design can help Short cut B u s s t o p

Short cut

How urban design can help Short cut B u s s t o p

Bus stop

An example of soil erosion on Kent Ridge

Outside the Department of Geography on a nice day:

note the bare patches

On a very wet day!

Note exposed tree roots
Note exposed tree roots

Rain Trees give < 50% cover = high through fall

Rain splash erodes, flowing water sheets transport mud, silt, sand and gravel

Overflow is eroding a new micro valley

Ponding during a big rain storm

After a big rain storm: sand and gravel deposited on foot paths

Tree roots exposed by soil erosion

Tree root failure

Tree roots are not exposed on level ground: but note exposed soil

Base of slope flooding

Flash floods

Bukit Timah 20th Nov 2009
Bukit Timah 20th Nov 2009
Flash floods Bukit Timah 20th Nov 2009 Orchard Rd 16 t h June, 2010 23 rd

Orchard Rd 16 th June, 2010

Bukit Timah 20th Nov 2009 Orchard Rd 16 t h June, 2010 23 rd Dec 2011
23 rd Dec 2011
23 rd Dec 2011

Clay and silt is being carried away in suspension

Combined effects of soil erosion, soil

creep and a Sumatran Squall

Combined effects of soil erosion, soil creep and a Sumatran Squall
Soil erosion
Soil erosion
Soil erosion

Soil erosion

Soil erosion

Interaction of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere

and anthrosphere

Interaction of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and anthrosphere

The worst example of soil erosion? The

“Fragrant Plant Garden” behind LT10

The worst example of soil erosion? The “Fragrant Plant Garden” behind LT10

Erosion Rates

3 x vertical exaggeration

Bukit Gambok Bukit Timah Bukit Batok
Bukit Gambok
Bukit Timah
Bukit Batok

15 cm of tree roots exposed around 20 year old trees = 7.5 mm eroded per year = an order of magnitude larger than in active mountain belts. Bukit Timah is 165 m high. How long will it take to erode away? Answer: 165,000 / 7.5 = 22,000 years………IF IT WAS MADE FROM JUST FROM SOIL

Erosion rate in granite catchments versus precipitation

Erosion rate in granite catchments versus precipitation Why lower? Stable non-tectonic Tropical vegetation Bukit Timah

Why lower?

Stable non-tectonic

Tropical vegetation

Bukit Timah Granite 7.5 mm/ky (?) = 0.0075 mm/yr, 165 m eroded in 22 million years

Cow Grass or Pearl Grass?

Cow Grass

Cow Grass or Pearl Grass? Cow Grass Just allowing the grass to grow slows down soil

Just allowing the grass to

grow slows down soil erosion

Just allowing the grass to grow slows down soil erosion Pearl Grass Cow grass: cut 2

Pearl Grass

Cow grass: cut 2 times each

month.

Pearl grass: cut once every 5

months, strong resistance to

trampling, can grow under heavy canopy

Soil Creep

Soil Creep
Soil Creep
Soil Creep

Soil stabilization in Singapore

Soil stabilization in Singapore Note slope failure and soil erosion Biotechnical stabilization: reinforced grass or

Note slope failure and soil erosion

in Singapore Note slope failure and soil erosion Biotechnical stabilization: reinforced grass or geogrids

Biotechnical stabilization: reinforced grass or geogrids with

live ground.

Conclusions

Factors influencing soil development: geology, climate, slope,

physical and chemical weathering, biological activity.

Ultisols on Bukit Timah Granite and Gomback Gabbro. Oxisols on lower slopes and Old Alluvium. Inceptisols on Jurong Fm sandstone ridge flanks Entisols on reclamations. Urbansols nearly everywhere!!

Factors influencing soil erosion: rainfall, soil erodibility, slopes, vegetation.

How to minimise soil erosion: minimise slope modifications, manage the vegetation through urban design.

Factors influencing slope stability and soil creep: slope angle,

slope length, prolonged rain, vegetation

Reading list

Supplementary reading:

Lu, Wong and Chou. 2005. Ch. 5. slope processes

and modification.

Lu, Wong and Chou. 2005. Ch. 6. soil erosion in Singapore.