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Inputs & Outputs
A drainage basin is an open system meaning it has inputs and
outputs. The most obvious input (at least here in Britain) is
rain but snow, hail & dew all act as inputs too. These inputs
(including rain) are grouped under the term precipitation, water
that falls…

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water that has percolated into rocks. You may have heard of a
little something called the water table. The water table is a
form of groundwater storage made up of lots of aquifers
(permeable rocks) that have had their pores filled with water.
The final sort of storage is so…

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groundwater feeds into a river, it's calledbaseflow . The speed
of interflow and groundwater flow is highly dependent on the
permeability of the rocks the water's travelling through. These
processes are normally very slow but permeable rocks will
make them faster2
. Vesicular3

rocks, such as pumice or

vesicular basalt,…

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water budget, I'm referring to the amount of water stored in the
soil with respect to precipitation, evapotranspiration & run off.
In the UK, or any place with a relatively temperate climate, the
water budget changes in a predictable pattern throughout the
year as the seasons (and hence the weather)…

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The discharge of a river changes over time depending on a
few factors. The most influential factor is the weather. After
heavy rainfall the discharge of the river will be higher because
there's more water entering the river. The weather affects
discharge so much that there's a special graph that…

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hydrograph can often be described as "flashy" because it will
have a fairly steep rising limb and a high peak discharge. This
is because all points in the drainage basin are (again, roughly)
equidistant from the river so all the precipitation reaches the
river at the same time.
The size…

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Weather & Climate
The intensity of a storm will obviously impact the peak
discharge of the river. More rainwater = more water in the river
so a higher discharge. Not immediately obvious is the type of
storm (or precipitation) that takes place. A winter storm (i.e.
snow) will result in…

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describe the graph. Easy marks. The ever so slightly harder
questions are the ones that ask you to explain a hydrograph
because these require you to think. Let's look at the storm
hydrograph for the fictional River Shui again:

If asked to describe the hydrograph you could quote the lag…

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water removes rock particles from the bed and banks. This
type of erosion is strongest at rapids and waterfalls where the
water has a high velocity. The next type of erosion
is corrasion1 . This is where the river's load acts almost like

sandpaper, removing pieces of rock as the…

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because the river doesn't have enough energy to move these
large particles in any other way.
Slightly smaller particles, such as pebbles and gravel, are
transported by saltation. This is where the load bounces along
the bed of the river because the river has enough energy to lift
the particles…


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