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River Landscapes and Processes

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River Landscapes and Processes Some important words and definitions: 1. Fluvial Landscape - a landscape created by rivers and their tributaries. 2. Tributary - a small river or stream which joins to a larger one. 3. River or drainage basin - an area drained by a single river together with all of its tributaries. 4. Confluence - where 2 or more streams, rivers or tributaries join together. 5. Watershed - The boundary line between different river/drainage basins. (Sometimes these are referred to as Catchment areas) 6. Source - The starting point of a river or stream. (watercourse) - This maybe a spring or just an area of boggy/marshy land. ...read more.


There are 4 main processes by which a river can cause erosion (wearing away) and 4 processes by which a river can transport (move) material. * Processes of erosion 1. Attrition - breaking up of material into smaller and smaller particles. 2. Corrosion - fire material rubs (like sandpaper) and gradually wears away the channel sides. 3. Corrosion - dilute acids in water help break down and dissolve particles. 4. Hydraulic Action - the sheer force of flowing water "hitting" the banks causes them to be worn away and collapse. * Processes of transportation 1. Traction - the movement of large rocks and boulders along the channel - usually in times of flood. ...read more.


This is more usual in mountainous areas nearer to the source of the river. Here the river forms a series of characteristic landforms which include "V" - shaped valley with interlocking spurs as well as waterfalls and rapids. The Formation of a Cap Rock Waterfall How do meanders and oxbow lakes form? As rivers get nearer to their mouths they flow in increasingly wide gentle sided valleys (with a saucer shape cross-section.) The channel increases in width and depth and the natural physical process causes it to 2meander" (from the River Meander in N. America). As a river goes round a bend most of the water is pushed to the outside of the bend and erosion takes place. The opposite happens on the inside of the bend - where deposition takes place Cross Section of a river bend Diagrams showing the formation of meanders and ox-bow lakes ...read more.

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