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River Processes


  • Hydraulic Action - Sheer force of the water hitting the bed and banks
  • Abrasion - Parts of the load hitting the bed and banks
  • Attrition - Parts of the load hitting each other
  • Solution - Acidic water dissolving rock like Chalk


  • Traction - Larger stones or boulders rolled along the river bed
  • Saltation - Stones and pebbles bounced along the bed
  • Suspension - Fine particles carried by the river
  • Solution - Rock dissolved in the water
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River Landforms 1


  • Band of hard rock then soft rock
  • Soft rock erodes faster than hard rock forming a step
  • Continual erosion of the soft rock forms a steep fall
  • Erosion from the high velocity of the fall forms a plunge pool at the bottom of the waterfall


  • As a waterfall is formed the soft rock at the bottom keeps getting eroded
  • The hard rock is being undercut by the soft rock leaving the hard rock overhanging
  • Soon the overhang collapses into the plunge pool and the waterfall retreats
  • The process repeats and the waterfall retreats leaving a waterfall
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River Landforms 2


  • (http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/geography/images/g514_b.gif)
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River Landforms 3

Levee and floodplain

  • Formed when the river floods. Flooded water is stagnant so deposits its load
  • Deposition of larger material occurs mainly on the bank leaving a larger mound there
  • As more floods occur the mound gets bigger forming a levee
  • The silt and material left on the flooded land makes the land flat and fertile - floodplain


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Hydrological Cycle


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