Splash Erosion (Rain Drop Impact)

Splash erosion or rain drop impact represents the first stage in the erosion process. Splash erosion results from the bombardment of the soil surface by rain drops. Rain drops behave as little bombs when falling on exposed or bare soil, displacing soil particles and destroying soil structure. Studies in America have shown that splashed particles may rise as high as 0.6 metres above the ground and move up to 1.5 metres horizontally. Splash erosion results in the formation of surface crusts which reduce infiltration resulting in the start of runoff.

Splash erosion:
  • Is the first stage in the erosion process
  • Results from the bombardment of the soil surface by raindrops
  • Is the primary cause of soil detachment and soil disintegration
  • Means that resettled sediment blocks soil pores resulting in surface crusting and lower infiltration.

Prevention and Control

Maintain Ground Cover

Studies show that ground cover must be maintained at levels above 70% to prevent the detachment of soil particles and initiation of sheet and rill erosion. On erodable soils or high gradients, such as the north facing slopes in southeast Tasmania, ground cover needs to be maintained at levels between 80-100%.

Options for Ground Cover in Cropping Systems

  • Plant a cover crop
  • Maintain cereal stubbles
  • Maintain organic matter
  • Reduce length of fallow periods
  • Reduce droplet size of irrigators.