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College of Arts & Sciences
Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute

Gully Erosion in Spartanburg County from 1939 to 2001

Cindy Kolomechuk

Advisor:  Dr. L. Allan James



Six massive gullies in Spartanburg County, South Carolina were studied in detail by Ireland and his colleagues in 1939, but have since not received much attention. The goal of this project was to document the modern condition of four of the six gully systems in Spartanburg County studied by Ireland et al. in 1939., focusing on the changes in the Cox gully system.  Historical aerial photography and field evidence indicate that the gullied drainage basin encompassing the Brooks gully system (the present gully system including the Cox gully and all of the gullies in the drainage basin) has been through a series of land use changes, but has been returning to forest for over forty years.  Comparisons of cross-section surveys generated by Ireland and others in 1939 show widened slopes and up to two meters of sediment in some gully bottoms.  Cross-sections of more recent gullies show highly erosive, narrow V-shaped morphology.  Precipitation trends at the decadal scale coupled with episodes of anthropogenic disturbances prepared the soil for increased erosion, and in some areas, counteracted reclamation efforts.  Only the gullies in the Brooks drainage basin were studied in detail, but they are representative of a variety of environments in Spartanburg County and much of the entire southern Piedmont.