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Landforms of fluvial erosion
What are the
Erosional
features of
fluvial erosion? Features
Upper Middle and
course lower course
Waterfalls Potholes River Meanders
& rapids terraces
Interlocking Ox-bow
spurs lakes…read more

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V-shaped valleys and interlocking spurs
Predominantly vertical erosion
results in a v-shaped valley.
In areas of resistant rock (e.g. on
Exmoor), meandering streams and rivers
will be incised into the landscape, forming
interlocking spurs.
Interlocking
spurs
Rapids are formed by
variations in rock resistance…read more

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Potholes
Potholes provide evidence of fluvial erosion
What is the most dominant type of
erosion here?
Abrasion
Where there are depressions /
fissures, fine particles and larger
boulders (`grinders') may become
trapped and swirled around by the
current
In resistant rock, potholes require
hundreds to thousands of years to
form
Bourke's Luck Potholes, South Africa…read more

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Waterfalls
Where do waterfalls form?
Usually where there is varying resistance in the types of rock or where
there is a fault running across a river.
Which processes operate?
Usually there is considerable
hydraulic action due to the
Soft rock falling water. Abrasion is also
likely to occur to create the
Hard rock River plunge pool at the base of the
waterfall
Soft rock
Which feature is formed as
the waterfall retreats
upstream?
Broken pieces
of hard rock A gorge or canyon…read more

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High Force Waterfall, upper Teesdale,
Yorkshire
· Tallest waterfall in England at 22m
high
· 500m gorge downstream
How was it formed?
Resistant band of igneous rock (Whin
Sill) overlying softer sandstone,
limestone, shale and coal seam
Water erodes softer rock more quickly,
creating an overhang and plunge pool
This eventually collapses and the
waterfall retreats upstream…read more

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