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The aim of this project was to study the physical development of a river, from its early beginnings at its source in the mountains to the point where it joins its larger branches as it matures and courses its way to the sea.

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Introduction

Geography Coursework INTRODUCTION The aim of this project was to study the physical development of a river, from its early beginnings at its source in the mountains to the point where it joins its larger branches as it matures and courses its way to the sea. I chose this particular site, in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland, because of its accessibility (the river Luineag is situated 50 kilometers SE of Inverness and 85 kilometers W of Aberdeen. It is also 10 kilometers off the A9) and its beautiful scenery. The reserve holds many of the tributaries to the river Spey. The Cairngorm Mountains are the largest stretch of continuous upland wilderness in the UK, and the entire range is Britain's largest natural treasure. It stands at an altitude of 305 to 1108meters and is wild and dramatic land straddling the Spey and Dee valleys. The artic-alpine terrain of the high plateau is very similar to the landscape of northern Europe towards the end of the last Ice age. ...read more.

Middle

These bends are called meanders. The erosion processes are demonstrated in the diagram below. As the water flows down a river, its speed is faster on the outside of the meander causing erosion and slower on the inside of the meander resulting in deposition. When the river slows on the inside of the meander it loses energy so that it can no longer carry suspended fragments. This will, over a period of time accentuate the curve of the meander. Sometimes this can even result in an oxbow lake, when the bend of the meander is so extreme that it joins with its adjacent bend to form a new route for the water, excluding the cut off meander. (.) U-SHAPED VALLEYS * A U- shaped valley is also a prominent feature of the middle course of a river. This is a valley whose typical cross section is shaped like a 'u'. A glacier, which is much bigger and more powerful than a river, shaped this and so glaciers deepen and widen the v-shaped valleys formed by rivers in mountain areas. ...read more.

Conclusion

The volume is the largest on the river's course. This part of a river is liable to flood. Flood plains and levees (a.k.a. bluffs): River overflows banks during a flood and spills onto the land. This sudden increase of friction lowers the velocity. When the river retreats it leaves a deposit of material. The coarsest material is deposited first as it is heavier, forming levees (natural extension of River bank to prevent floods - a.k.a bluffs). Alluvium is then deposited. Each time the river floods a new layer is added, eventually forming a floodplain. Braiding - this is where the river channel is broken up into a number of distributaries. The river slows as it reaches where it joins the sea - this results in further deposition. As a river slowly meanders across its flood plain, it often deposits material in the 'middle' of its channel. Sand and shingle banks often form small islands in this way. Deltas - Formed at the mouth of a river. It is a result of the reduction of river velocity as it enters the sea. A delta is formed when deposits of sediment cause a river to divide at the mouth. ...read more.

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