An analysis of terracettes in a region of Giant's Castle Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, South Africa.
Terracettes are a widely occurring form of micro-relief found throughout regions displaying various climatic and environmental conditions. Much speculation surrounds the processes responsible for their formation and development. An investigation of these micro-forms, their associated soil physical properties, sustaining mechanisms, and their relationship to slope stability was undertaken in Giant's Castle Game Reserve, KwaZulu - Natal Drakensberg, South Africa. The study showed that relationships between terracette morphology and soil physical properties within the Reserve are few, and that current soil conditions cannot be used to infer process related to terracette formation. However dry bulk density data indicated that soil creep is the dominant formative mechanism within the Reserve. Throughflow at riser surfaces was the dominant sustaining mechanism, with needle ice growth, wind, surfacewash and animal disturbance contributing minor retreat at both treads and risers. Aspect played an important role in determining soil physical characteristics. It was inferred that terracettes imparted stability to the slopes on which they are found, and with continued retreat at both treads and risers the slope was again placed under conditions of instability.