Fractal characteristics of synthetic soil for cut slope revegetation in the Purple soil area of China Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Ai, Y., Chen, Z., Guo, P., Zeng, L., Liu, H., Da, Z. and Li, W. 2012. Fractal characteristics of synthetic soil for cut slope revegetation in the Purple soil area of China. Can. J. Soil Sci. 92: 277–284. Revegetation of the cut slopes formed during railroad construction can reduce potential hazards, improve the quality of the environment, and beautify the landscape along the railways. Artificial backfill soil is required to anchor the plant roots and satisfy the plant's moisture and nutritional demands on the bare rock face. The soil particle size distribution (PSD), fertility and stability of the reconstructed topsoils are affected by the soil type used as a backfill. In this study, a fractal method was used to characterize the PSD. The relationships between the fractal dimension of the PSD and selected soil properties, including soil moisture, bulk density, and organic carbon are discussed. Various soil samples were obtained from four different land-use environments in the purple soil area in southwest, China: a cut slope reconstructed from rock fragments (RF), a cut slope reconstructed with agricultural soil (AS), a naturally developed slope (NS), and a cropland used for growing Vicia faba (CL). Analysis of the soil samples revealed that: (1) from CL to RF, the sand content increased from 59.6 to 83.9%; (2) the fractal dimension of PSD ranged from 2.605 for RF to 2.725 for CL, being the greater the sand content and the lower the fractal dimension; (3) there existed marked linear relationships between the fractal dimensions and selected physicochemical properties of the soils. Therefore, the fractal dimension of PSD can be a useful parameter with which to monitor the structural deterioration and nutrient loss of the synthetic soils used for the revegetation of a cut slope.


  • Ai, Yingwei
  • Chen, Zhaoqiong
  • Guo, Peijun
  • Zeng, Lixia
  • Liu, Hao
  • Da, Zhujun
  • Li, Wei

publication date

  • February 2012