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As the river cuts its deep V-shaped valley in its upper course, it follows the path of the easiest
rock to erode. Leaving the more resistant areas of rock as interlocking spurs.
Meanders are large bends in a river, usually found during the middle and lower courses of the
river. Erosion takes place on the outside bend where the flow is fastest while deposition occurs
on the inside bend, where the flow is slowest. This deposition forms a Slip-off slope.
In the lower course of the river meanders can become so pronounced that they can form
ox-bow lakes. In the lower course the rapid lateral erosion cuts into the neck of the meander,
narrowing it considerably. Eventually the force of the river breaks through the neck, and as this
is the easiest way for the water to go, the old meander is left without any significant amount of
water flowing through it. Quickly the river deposits material along the side of its new course,
which completely block off the old meander, creating an ox-bow lake.
In the upper course of the river, it cuts rapidly downwards, as the river puts almost all of its
energy towards cutting down to base level. This causes the most distinctive river feature, the
1. A river meets a band of softer, less resistant rock.
2. The underlying softer rock is eroded away more quickly.
3. Processes of erosion cause undercutting.
4. The more resistant rock is left unsupported and overhangs.
5. The more resistant rock collapses onto the river bed.
6. The rock causes abrasion of the river bed.
7. Hydraulic action helps create a plunge pool.
8. This process is repeated and the waterfall retreats upstream.
9. A steep sided river valley is created called a gorge.
Floodplains and leveés
Floodplains and leveés are formed by deposition in times of river flood. The river's load is
composed of different sized particles. When a river floods it deposits the heaviest of these
particles first. The larger particles, often pebble-sized, form the leveés. The sands, silts and
clays are similarly sorted with the sands being deposited next, then the silts and finally the
lightest clays. Every time the river floods deposition builds up the floodplain.
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Deltas are found at the mouth of rivers. A delta is formed when the river deposits its material.
It deposits it material as it has less energy and the flow slows down. All this deposition forms a