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Cross section of a river

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Upper-course Middle-course Lower-course In the upper-course of the river we saw interlocking spurs. These are formed when the river doesn't have enough energy to erode the banks, and is forced around them instead. The river valley was v-shaped and the relief was steep. V-shaped valleys are caused when the river in the upper-course only has enough energy to erode vertically and so a deep gorge is formed. Weathering on the rock walls of the gorge weaken them and cause large chunks of rock to fall into the gorge, eventually forming a v-shaped valley. Rocks in the upper-course of the river are large and angular because, being new to the river; they have undergone minimal attrition in comparison to rocks in the middle and lower-course. ...read more.


This forms a plunge pool where water and bedload swirl around, eroding the river backwards through abrasion and hydraulic action. Eventually this backwards erosion undercuts the harder rock and the harder rock collapses under gravity forming a waterfall. In the middle course the velocity of the river was higher because the large, angular rocks that had previously caused friction, had undergone attrition making them smaller, rounder and less-obstructive. This higher velocity allows the water to begin laterally eroding the sides of the river with hydraulic action, eventually forming meanders. These meanders become more and more bent until a point where it is quicker for the river to just cut through the neck of the meander cutting It off from the river. ...read more.


Neither of these features, however, could be found in Holford Combe. In the lower-course of the river, the rocks were extremely small and round, and all of the bedload was either in the form of saltation or solution. This was due to the massive amount of attrition they had undergone. The valley shape in the lower-course of the river was flatter and wider due to further erosion of the banks of the river. Because of the increase In discharge at this stage in the river, lateral erosion had also increased making the river channel smoother and wider. One feature of the lower-course of a river is a delta. Deltas are an area of fertile land at the mouth of a river. They are formed when a high-energy river carrying lots of sediment hits the sea, loses all of its energy and suddenly drops all the sediment it was carrying, forming a small area of land. ...read more.

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