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CEST2009 Chania, Crete, Greece

Ref no: 415/31-12-08

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ArcEnviro Makrygianni 1 str, 157 72, Zografos, Athens, e-mail: National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Department of Minerals Engineering Heroon Polytechniou 9 str., 157 80 Zografos, Athens, Greece 3 Department of Economic & Regional Development, Panteion University, 136 Syngrou Av., GR-176 71 Athens, Greece e-mail: EXTENDED ABSTRACT

The geomorphology and the lithology of an area is the basic factor that controls the erosional capability of the exogenic processes principally by the action of the water. The area of research is found at the Regional departments of Attica and Sterea Hellas and includes departments of prefectures of Western Attica and Viotia. The Thriassion basin occupies an area of 500 Km2 of which approximately 100 Km2 correspond to flat ground, while the rest corresponds to mountainous or hilly areas. The morphology of the region is generally smooth, slightly dipping towards the sea, with morphological slopes that do not exceed 3%. The broader area of the Thriassion Basin consists of geological formations of the SubPelagonian geological unit, as well as of those of the geological unit of Eastern Greece, that is generally carbonate and /or dolomite formations of Upper Triasic to Upper Cretaceous age that form the nearby mountains and mountainous areas, while the basin has been filled by clastic sediments (marls, clays, conglomerates e.t.c.) since Pliocene times. In order to investigate the intensity and the erosion that can be seen in every area we followed the following methodology. We prepared a series of maps, which helped us to work out and analyze the factors that affected the configuration of the relief. These maps are relative to the lithology of the formations, as well as their behaviour under the effect of the exogenic processes in connection to his morphological slope, and can be divided into three groups: A map providing information about the lithology and hydrogeology. In these maps, two areas are distinguished according to the behaviour and resistivity to erosion. Maps providing geomorphologic data due to the shape and the evolution of the drainage networks of the area. In order to investigate the drainage texture, drainage density and drainage frequency maps were prepared. In each of these maps, three different areas of density and frequency values were distinguished. A combination of these maps leads to a final map of the drainage texture in which two different areas can be distinguished. A map of the slope of the valley sides. According to the gradient values of the slopes, two areas were distinguished. One area with gradient of less than 12% and one of more than 12%. The combination of the three final maps, of drainage texture, relief slopes and lithologic areas susceptible to erosion, produced the erosivity map. According to erosivity three different categories of areas were distinguished. As the map shows the larger part of the area belongs to the category of low erosivity.

Finally in order to investigate erosivity under the present conditions we combined the erosivity map with the vegetation cover map. It is estimated that formations which are covered by forest, are significantly protected, with lower erosivity than the uncultivated areas. In this work we initially examined the degree of erosion vulnerability, as well as the production of brought materials of the region that includes the basin of the Thriassion Plain. The regions characterised by high and medium vulnerability at extreme conditions (that is without considering the presence of vegetation), that are covered by dense forests should be considered less vulnerable and be classified accordingly. On the contrary cultivations can significantly increase the vulnerability of a region because they provide insufficient protection toward erosive factors. The regions with high vulnerability at natural conditions (that is having considered the presence of vegetation), are regions that have sharper morphological slopes, extensive hydrographical network, formations characterised by lower erosional resistance as well as poor vegetation. Key Words: Erocivity, erosive factors, drainage, transferred material production 1. INTRODUCTION This paper examines the degree of vulnerability to erosion and transportation of sediment load of the Thriassio basin, an extensive area that belongs to the Regional departments of Attica and Sterea Hellas. The largest section lies within the boundaries of Attica Prefecture, while a small portion at the north enters the Viotia Prefecture. Near the Elefsis coast lie the cities of Elefsis and Aspropyrgos. The Thriassion basin hosts the watersheds of Sarantapotamos, Agios Ioannis, Giannoulas and Remataki rivers, as well as the watersheds of smaller streams, especially those near its margins (streams Souris, St. Catherine, St. Vlassis, etc.). The total area of the region is approximately 500 Km2, whose approximately 67% (335 Km2) is occupied by the watershed of Sarantapotamos, the greatest river of the plain. The coastline of the Elefsis bay has a length of approximately 19 km (Mavrakis et al., 2007). The topography of the area has been affected by intense neotectonic activity. The bay is surrounded by the mountains Pateras (West) Kitheronas (North), Parnitha (Northeast) and Egaleo (East). Their height, shape, boarders, orientation are completely controlled by neotectonic movements. It is also the presence of these mountainous formations that gives the basin a variety of morphological environments, where steep slopes, especially near the mountains Kitheronas and Parnitha, give their place to flat areas, especially near the mouths of the larger streams of the basin. On a geological aspect, the broader of the Thriassion Basin area consists of geological formations of the Sub-Pelagonian geological unit, as well as of those of the geological unit of Eastern Greece, that is, as well as schist of Upper Paleozoic Lower Triasic age, generally carbonate and /or dolomite formations of Upper Triasic to Upper Cretaceous age, ophiolite rocks and flysch of Upper Cretaceous age that form the nearby mountains and mountainous areas, while the basin has been filled by clastic sediments (marls, clays, conglomerates etc.) since Pliocene times. 2. DATA USED

The main factors controlling erosion are permeability and infiltration capacity of the geological formations, drainage texture, slope degree and land cover. By combining these factors we are able to determine the vulnerability of these formations to erosion.

For this work we relied on the methodology developed by Marinos et al, 1998 and subsequently by Alexouli-Livaditi et al., 1999 and Sigalos & Alexouli-Livaditi, 2005, along with certain adjustments that seemed necessary. In order to carry out this work a primary database was created via digitising the cartographic background (topography, hydrographic network, geology) of the topographic maps Athinai Elefsis and ErithraI of the H.M.G.S. at a scale of 1:50.000, as well as of the homonymous geological maps of I.G.M.E., also at a scale of 1:50.000. Data concerning land cover information were extracted from the Corine Land Cover project (CLC2000) carried out by the European Topic Centre on Land Use and Spatial Information. Enriched by field investigations as well as literature, this primitive database would allow us to analyse the factors that control the shape of the relief and estimate the rates of erosion. 3. PROCEDURE

The data analysis led to the construction of four thematic maps, presenting the main factors that contribute to vulnerability of the formations to erosion, as follows. Geological formations Resistivity Classification Map (A1): Permeability and infiltration capacity are the two main factors controlling the resistivity of the geological formations to erosion. Permeability controls the amount of annual surface runoff. Formations of high permeability show low rates of surface runoff thus increased resistivity against erosion. Infiltration capacity applies primarily to soils. Continuous infiltration may cause soil saturation, which is the primary cause for erosion. Formations displaying high infiltration rates, such as carbonate rocks, allow water to run through their mass, without causing erosive effects. Similarly, formations of low infiltration rates, such as slates, do not contribute to erosive effects. It is the formations of medium infiltration rates, such as neogene or alluvial deposits that usually lead to saturation and subsequently to erosion. We thus divided the geological formations into three classes, based on their permeability and infiltration capacity rates. When combined, both permeability and infiltration capacity classes resulted in the division of the formations into three more classes, according to their degree of resistance to erosion. Table 1A displays the classification of the geological formations according to permeability, infiltration capacity and resistivity rates. Class A1 corresponds to low resistivity formations class A2 to moderate resistivity formations and Class A3 to high resistivity formations.

Chart A1: Classification of resistivity rates.

Drainage Texture Classification Map (A2): The second map (A2) displays the drainage texture of the basin. This map was drawn after estimating the two most significant hydrological parameters: drainage density, defined as the total length of streams per unit area and stream frequency. Both reflect relief ratio, geology, land cover as well as other factors contributing to soil erosion. A poorly developed drainage network decreases the risk of erosion due to small rates of water runoff. On the contrary, the finest the texture of the hydrological network, the greater the risk of erosion is. As in the case of geological formations, three classes were distinguished for each of the hydrological parameters, that is low, moderate and high density, as well as low, moderate and high frequency. By combining the data, we resulted with three classes of hydrological texture (low, moderate and high), as shown in Table 1B. According to this classification: class Y1 corresponds to small drainage texture, class Y2 to moderate drainage texture and class Y3 to high drainage texture.

Chart A2: Classification of drainage texture. Slope Classification Map (A3): Water falling on steeply-sloped land runs off quickly and infiltrates less than water falling on flattened areas, increasing the risk of erosion. The third map (A3) displays the surface of the Thriassion basin divided into areas characterised by morphological slope gradients above 12% and slope gradients below 12%. The slope gradient of 12% has been chosen as a classification criterion because this particular value is equivalent to the slope the talus cones present under diffusive flow conditions and thus considered as a critical angle of repose. Therefore, in areas with slopes greater than 12%, the corrosive process should be intense, while in areas with slopes gradients below 12%, this process is reduced. Table 1C displays the two classes of relief slopes, based on the criterion of 12%. Land Cover Protection Classification Map (A4): It is well known that the presence of vegetation contributes to the soil protection against erosion. The thicker the vegetation, the greater the protection is. Thick forests and dense bushes provide great protection, while various crops protect insufficiently the formations against erosion. Areas bare of vegetation are left almost unprotected (Valmis, 1990). Although narrow, urbanised areas are classified as poorly protected against erosive effects. Based on the types of the land cover information identified in the region, three classes of land cover protection against erosive effects were distinguished: low (L1), moderate (L2) and high (L3), as shown in Table 1D.

Chart A3: Classification of morphological slopes.

Chart A4: Classification of land cover protection 4. RESULTS

By combining the data displayed in maps A1, A2 A3 and A4, two erocivity scenarios can be implemented: a first scenario at extreme conditions, corresponding to vulnerability of soils to erosion without taking into account land cover protection, as well as a second one at actual conditions, corresponding to vulnerability of soils to erosion after having considered the contribution of several land cover types to soil protection. Furthermore, two vulnerability maps were created for each of these scenarios. Vulnerability to Erosion Map (Extreme conditions scenario): The importance of lithology and hydrolithology, drainage maturity, relief and vegetation is expected to emerge throughout this paperwork. Each of these factors controls the erosion process for the Thriassion plain. Their combination leads to estimations concerning the erocivity for each part of the plain. In an extreme conditions scenario, only data related to geology, drainage texture and relief gradient are taken into consideration. In general, areas with steep slopes, fine drainage texture and low resistance to erosive factors are expected to be more vulnerable to erosion, while flattened areas of coarse drainage texture and high resistance to erosive factors are expected to be less vulnerable.

Table 2A displays classes of vulnerability created via a combination of formations resistivity to erosion (A), hydrographic texture (Y) and slope degree (S) classes, as shown in Table 1. Class T1 corresponds to low vulnerability, class T2 to moderate vulnerability and class T3 to high vulnerability to erosion. Table 1: Classification of the A1, A2, A3 and A4 chart parameters
A Permeability Pervious Semi-Pervious Impervious Pervious Semi-Pervious Impervious Pervious Semi-Pervious Impervious B Drainage Density High Moderate Low High Moderate Low High Moderate Low C Permeability Classification 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 Drainage Density Classification 3 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 Infiltration Capacity High High High Moderate Moderate Moderate Low Low Low Stream Frequency High High High Moderate Moderate Moderate Low Low Low Infiltration Cap. Classification 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 Stream Frequency Classification 3 3 3 2 2 2 1 1 1 Resistivity Classification A1 A1 A2 A2 A2 A2 A2 A3 A3 Drainage Texture Classification Y3 Y3 Y2 Y2 Y2 Y2 Y2 Y1 Y1

Morphological Slopes Slope gradient below 12% Slope gradient above 12%

Land Cover Type heterogeneous agricultural areas, arable land, human activity areas various cultivations forestry, scrub land, natural grassland etc

Protection Low Moderate High

Classification L1 L2 L3

Vulnerability to Erosion Map (Realistic conditions scenario): It is important to underline that land cover information, such as vegetation types (forestry, crop regions), urbanised areas etc hasnt been included to our estimations while implementing the extreme conditions scenario for the vulnerability of the region. Indeed, land cover protection against erosion is unquestionable and should be seriously taken into account, especially when estimating hazardous risks, such as floods or the consequences of intense human activities, such as deforestation, large forest incinerations etc. Increased vegetation reduces surface runoff rates and increases the amounts of water that enrich the aquifers beneath the earths surface. The combination of the B1 vulnerability at extreme conditions map to the A4 land cover map, gives us the vulnerability map B2 in actual conditions for the region. Table 2B displays the vulnerability of the region, divided into three classes: low (TR1), moderate (TR2) and high (TR3).

Chart B1: Classification of vulnerability to erosion (Extreme conditions scenario)

Chart B2: Classification of vulnerability to erosion (Realistic conditions scenario) Table 2: Classification of Erocivity under extreme and realistic conditions
A Erocivity (T) Low (1) A1-Y1-S1, A2-Y1S1 A3-Y1-S1, A1-Y2S1 A2-Y2-S1, A1-Y3S1 A1-Y1-S2, A2-Y1S2 A1-Y2-S2 Low (R1) 1-L1 Combinations 2-L1 1-L2 Moderate (2) A3-Y2-S1 A2-Y3-S1 A3-Y1-S2 A2-Y2-S2 A1-Y3-S2 Moderate (R2) High (R3) 2-L2 3-L2 T2-L3 T3-L3 T1-L3 T3-L1 High (3) A3-Y3-S1 A3-Y2-S2 A2-Y3-S2 A3-Y3-S2


Erocivity (TR)



There are no major differences in the results between the two scenarios, as in both cases areas demonstrating low vulnerability are the vast majority. It should be noted that areas corresponding to high or moderate vulnerability classes, as shown in map B1, are covered by dense vegetation, should be considered as less vulnerable and be classified accordingly. On the other hand, extensive crop areas provide insufficient protection against erosive factors (Valmis S., 1990), which may increase the erocivity of these areas. This is related to their geographical distribution in the region. Indeed, crop fields cover flattened areas, without differentiating much the degree of vulnerability, while forestry occupies areas of steep slopes, contributing to the reduction of the degree of vulnerability in the research region. Areas with high vulnerability: These areas have steep slopes, high drainage texture, present low resistivity against erosion and sparse vegetation. These regions occupy 2% of the total area in the extreme conditions scenario. When it comes to the realistic conditions scenario, due to the presence of vegetation, this proportion is reduced to 1%, because the area becomes less vulnerable. Areas with moderate vulnerability: These areas occupy 10% of the total area in the extreme conditions scenario, while in realistic conditions this proportion is reduced to 9%. The small difference of 1% corresponds to areas initially classified as highly vulnerable (1%) and moderately vulnerable (2%), but subsequently demoted, as the presence of vegetation hadnt been considered yet. Areas with low vulnerability: These areas have gentle slopes and small to medium drainage texture and vegetation. They occupy 88% of the total area in the extreme conditions scenario, while reaching 90% in the realistic conditions one. Although present, vegetation does not modify the vulnerability conditions considerably.
Extreme conditions scenario 10% 2%


Realistic conditions scenario 9% 1%

88% Low Moderate High


90% Moderate High

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7. H.M.G.S.: Topographic Maps 1: 50.000. Sheets: Athinai Elefsis. Erithrai. 8. European Topic Centre on Land Use and Spatial Information. Corine Land Cover 2000.