How a river changes from source to mouth

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How a River changes from source to mouth

The Long Profile

The long river profile is the changes in gradient at different stages in a river's flow.

In the Upper Course the flow is fast and load and water volume are slow.

In the Middle Course the river starts to slow and volume increases when tributaries join the river. The river erodes at this stage and the load increases.

In the Lower Course, the river slows down dramatically due the gradient being almost flat. The river deposits its load due to the lack of power and speed. The volume is the largest on the river's course. This part of a river is liable to .

Upper course

The upper course is usually found in the mountains and hills where the river rises from its source.  and  are also sometimes found in this course. Water falls are caused when a river runs over alternating layers of hard and soft rock. The river in the upper course is usually fast flowing. There are lots of obstacles, stones and boulders for the water to flow over. As the river moves all the way through the upper course it cuts downwards. The steepness here is steep and the river channel is narrow. Vertical erosion in this highland part of the river creates steep sided V-shaped valleys and interlocking spurs.  These are caused as the river erodes the landscape in the upper course, it winds and bends avoiding areas of hard rock. Therefore creating them they look a bit like the interlocking parts of a zip.

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The graphic shows how waterfalls and rapids are formed.

The graphic shows how V-shaped valleys are formed

V-shaped valleys are created due to erosion. This is because the river carries stones and rocks in its water. The force of the water (which is high in the upper course) and the grinding of rocks and stones cut down into the  to carve out a V-shaped valley. The longer time goes on the more the river erodes and therefore the valley becomes deeper and wider.

The Middle Course

In the Middle ...

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