• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Using examples from a river you know, describe and account for changes that occur in the channel as you go downstream

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Using examples from a river you know, describe and account for changes that occur in the channel as you go downstream The River Rh�ne is one of Europe's great rivers, stretching 813 kilometres from south-west Switzerland to its delta near Marseilles. For hundreds of years it was considered an unpredictable, violent river, but, through the actions of man, its character has changed completely. The Rh�ne begins its life on the Rh�ne glacier in the Swiss Alps. Unlike most rivers, the Rh�ne is fed by melt-water, making it unpredictable. Whilst other rivers will only flood during the spring, the Rh�ne theoretically can flood any time of the year. Temperature changes of only four degrees Celsius can drastically affect the discharge of the river. The river during this upstream stage has a lot of energy, since the gradient down which the river flows is unusually steep. This results in a flow that is typical of rivers in their upland course. The flow of the river can be described as very turbulent, evidenced by the eddies and whirlpools that pepper this part of the river. ...read more.

Middle

The dam removes much of the river's energy at this point, harnessing its power for hydroelectricity. The result is that in the remaining upper course to Lyons, the river is now a gently meandering river that is depositing sediment. The river now looks incongruous with its environment, hemmed in by the deep valleys that surround it. At Lyons, the Rh�ne is joined by the Sa�ne tributary, and marks the start of the river's southward course. In many respects the Rh�ne is characteristic of rivers in their lower course. The river channel is more efficient, allowing a laminar flow with wide flood plains and bluffs around the Rh�ne, The river's competence and capacity also change. The Rh�ne upstream was more suited to carrying large amounts of material occasionally, while the Rh�ne downstream is completely different. It competence has gone down, so that it is only capable of carrying material in suspension and solution, due to a decrease in the river's peak energy. Yet, the actual amount of material carried has gone up drastically, because of the increase in the river's discharge. The erosion taking place has also changed, from being vertical to horizontal. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a consequence, the river becomes even more unpredictable, with floods determined by both the weather in the Swiss Alps, and in the Massif Central. After the Ard�che has joined the Rh�ne, the chance of flooding increases dramatically. For example, in May 1856 the Rh�ne flooded so much that over two hundred kilometres either side of the river were covered. This was the main stimulus for the taming of the Rh�ne by the French authorities. At Arles, the river enters the final stage of its course: the delta, or 'Camargue'. Here the river changes dramatically again, splitting up into the Grand and Petit Rh�ne. As sediment is being constantly deposited, the Camarge is forever expanding outwards into the Gulf of Lions. The delta itself is actuate, so that sediment is dumped before the river reaches the Mediterranean, since the river no longer has enough energy to continue carrying material. In conclusion, it can be seen that the river Rh�ne is very different in character according to which stage of its course it is in. Whilst turbulent and small upstream, the river becomes a large, lazy, meandering river downstream, and a braided river at the Camargue. This shows that physical conditions, such as gradient and rock type, considerably affect the character of the Rh�ne, and rivers in general. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hydrology & Fluvial Geomorphology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hydrology & Fluvial Geomorphology essays

  1. River channel processes.

    that more of the floodplain had to be utilised for the use of housing. To prevent a flood risk, the US Army Corps decided to make it less meandering and into a canal. They have trenches in the floodplains to allow the water to drain.

  2. How A River Changes As It goes Downstream.

    On the inside bend the water is less forceful and the current is less strong which encourages deposition. Sand and small pebbles are deposited creating a gentle slip-off-slope. The reason the valley becomes wider is because lateral erosion occurs on the outer bend of the meander, widening the valley floor and eroding away at the ends of the interlocking spurs.

  1. 'To what extent does the River Lyn conform to the Bradshaw model of River ...

    My results to these key questions: 1. The photographs show the River size increases as you go downstream. From my results and graphs I can see the cross sectional area, width and mean depth also increase as you go downstream.

  2. I am going to study the characteristics of rivers and how they change as ...

    Sometimes the river would hurl pebbles at the side causing erosion this is called "abrasion". When the sides of the river are eroded by abrasion or hydraulic action, the trees usually fall down because they are at the edge of the banks.

  1. Study the downstream changes of Loughton Brook.

    The terminology of the hydrological cycle (Fig. ) is listed below as well as some other vocabulary from our school textbooks; Channel Flow The flow of water in a stream river or lake Channel Storage Water in rivers and lakes. Condensation The process in which gas is turned to liquid.

  2. Does the river Alyn follow Bradshaw's model?

    0.34 13 1 1 14.6 1 0.6 8 7 49 6.65 10 0.91 3 7 49 8.6 6 0.83 6 0 0 4.4 15 0.88 5 10 100 7.6 9 0.24 15 6 36 6.2 13 0.97 2 11 121 = 772 Depth Rank Discharge Rank D D 26.3 5

  1. A study into the bed load of the River Lemon

    Although, the bed load does not decrease a vast amount, the range is only 2.6cm. That could be attributed to finding the mean of sixty pieces of rock at each site. Between site one and site two, the average size decreases by only 0.05cm.

  2. To assess whether the modified channel of the river ash is effective in reducing ...

    Evapotranspiration means that the water caught by the leaves evaporates of them. Although only a small amount of water is prevented from getting to the river it can make a difference in water level.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work