Upper Characteristics

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Upper Course

  • Vertical erosion-the river erodes downwards as the boulders, stones and rock particles in the river scrape along the channel bed. This is abrasion because the materials scrape.
  • Weathering-As the river vuts down the steep sides, weathering of the sides weakens and attacks the slopes. This breaks up and loosens the soil and rock.
  • Slope transport-The loosened/weathered materials fins its way into the river and the river transports it away.
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Features of the upper course

  • Waterfalls- A sudden step in the long profile of a river where the river falls vertically. This happens when the river meets harder rock and due to there being a difference in erosion speed the softer rock gets eroded down quicker revealing the harder rock. Over time the waterfall will retreat as the harder rock get eroded away.
  • Plunge pool-At the foot of the waterfall a deep pool of water is formed. This is created by the high energy water plunging into the floor eroding it away
  • Gorge-Formed when rocks drop into the plunge pool
  • Rapids-Turbulent flow that are caused by the sudden change ingradient causing faster flowing water.
  • Potholes-Circular holes that are drilled into the rocky bed of a river by turbulent high velocity water loaded with pebbles.
  • Braded  Channels-The river is forced to split into several channels seperated by islands. Occurs when a river has variable discharge. Large loads of sand and gravel. Easily eroded.
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