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River Processes - What are the physical characteristics of a river?

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Jack Chen 11KM Chinese International School IGCSE Geography Coursework River Processes - What are the physical characteristics of a river? Introduction: River Features are elements of the landscape produced by fluvial processes-that is, the action of running water as it flows through the channels forming the drainage network of a river basin, eroding, transporting, and depositing sediment. (Source from Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2001) A useful way to study a river is to look at its long profile and its cross sectional profile. The long profile of a river is a section drawn along the length of a river from its source to its mouth. Usually, a long profile has three parts: ? Upper course or mountain tract ? Middle course or valley tract ? Lower course or plain tract However, in Hong Kong most of the rivers are short and their gradients change abruptly. These rivers have two courses only, the upper and lower courses. Not all rivers have three well-defined stages. Some reach base level direct from stage 1 (Base level is the lowest level down to where a river can erode). Others arise amid lowlands. The diagram below shows typical changes in the river channel: The table on the next page lists out the features produced by river processes in each course. The Long Profile of a River Upper Course Middle Course Lower Course * V shaped valley * Steep gradient * Vertical erosion * Flows between interlocking spurs * Flood water rises ...read more.


The 17 different river investigation groups were assigned to 3 different geography teachers. With three main stations being investigated, there were 7 groups at each station. Each river group had to carry out data collection at each of the stations. Equipments: ? Range poles ? Weight corks ? Meter ruler ? Clinometer ? Measuring tape ? Safety rope ? Field diary ? Stop watch ? Camera ? Field guide book Site 1 - Upper Course The map above shows the location of site 1B and it also shows the Pak Sha O Youth Hostel. The reason that site 1B is chosen between site 1A and 1C was because that the teacher found site 1B is has less obstacles and less rock on the riverbed. Therefore, it will be safer and more efficient to carry out the investigation there. Site 2 - Middle Course The map above shows the location of site 2 and there is a pumping station beside it. Site 3 - Lower Course The map above shows the location of site 3. Also, we can see from the map that there is a village near it. 1.Channel shape: First, place a tape measure across the stream. Keep it taught. If it is a shallow stream, use a ruler to measure the water depth. If it is a deeper stream, then use the range pole, mark the depth of the water and measure it. ...read more.


The vertical erosion is less than anticipated, therefore creating a shallower river channel than expected. Evaluation: There were some limitations to the method when measuring the gradient. The readings we recorded on the surface of the water might be inaccurate as the velocity of the stream is less at the sides and surface than in the centre where the velocity is highest. The results also could be affected by the wind over 1/2the surface, which could make the floats faster. Another adaptation we had to make was shortening the travelling distance of the float from 10 metres to 1 metre at the first site as the water was too sallow and there were too many obstacles for the piece of float to overcome. This might make our results a bit less accurate as a longer distance will enable a more accurate result to a shorter distance because the longer distance gives the float peel a good distance in which to adjust to the average flow of the river. Whereas a shorter distance will only give the orange peel a small amount of velocity. There is more chance of the reading of velocity to be affected if it is taken in shorter distance as a tributary could effect the amount of water flowing at that particular place whereas the flow of the river is averaged out more over a longer distance. ...read more.

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