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Fluvial Systems (Rivers). Click the link for an interactive tour through the water cycle. http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/earthguide/diagrams/watercycle/. Water that flows across land or is stored above ground is known as surface water.

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Click the link for an interactive tour through the water cycle.


  • Water that flows across land or is stored above ground is known as surface water.

  • Although rivers are unimportant as reservoirs for water, they are absolutely crucial to the water cycle.

    They are the major route by which continental rain and the products of weathering reach the oceans.

Stream velocity-the known as surface water.speed at which water flows through a stream. The higher the velocity, the greater the erosive force of the stream

  • Numerous factors affect the velocity of water flow in a stream:


    -channel shape

    -channel size

    -channel roughness


    distance water travels

    V = -------------------------------------------

    time required to travel that distance

Figure 16.14 known as surface water.

The higher the velocity – the more turbulent the flow.

The more turbulent the flow – the higher the erosive capacity.

The work of running water includes: known as surface water.

-Transportation of sediment

-Erosion of channel (abrasion + dissolution)

-Deposition of sediment

The water


required to

pick-up and




depends on

their size.

Stream Load known as surface water.

  • A stream can carry its load in three different ways:

  • 1.________ – material is dissolved

  • 2.__________ – particles are held up by stream’s moving water

  • 3._________ – material pushed or rolled along the stream’s channel



bed load

TRANSPORTATION known as surface water.

suspended load = mud

bed load = sand + gravel

Discharge known as surface water. is the amount of water that flows past a point in a certain amount of time.

Discharge is dependent upon velocity, depth, and width of the stream.

Discharge = _______ x _____ x _____




Table 16.1 known as surface water.

Discharge varies from stream to stream, known as surface water.AND

from time to time AND place to place along

a single stream.

A stream’s discharge and velocity as well as the

sediment influx determine the morphological

features formed by a river system.

The following slides contain various river system


Figure 16.14 known as surface water.

-Meanders develop because the velocity of water

in a stream is non-uniform.

-The maximum velocity occurs on the outsides of

the meanders where erosion occurs. Deposition of

alluvium occurs on the insides.

  • Point bar- known as surface water.a depositional feature formed when the velocity on the inside of the meander slows down and sediment falls out of suspension.

  • Cut bank- erosional feature formed on the outside of the meander due to the highest velocity of water removing sediment through erosion.

  • The 6/10ths rule is applied to determine where the location of the fastest moving water in a river. The depth of the river is multiplied by 0.6

Point Bar known as surface water.

Cut bank

Braided streams known as surface water.develop when sediment

load is too large for a

single channel to carry

so numerous channels


Delta where a stream empties into a larger body of water
Delta known as surface water.– where a stream empties into a larger body of water

Migration of meanders onto a less steep arealead to the formation

of abandoned meanders and oxbow lakes.

Rejuvenation onto a less steep area of a stream occurs when tectonic

processes reactivate uplift in a region and

cause streams to begin downcutting again.


entrenched meanders

A watershe onto a less steep aread is the

entire region from which a stream and its

tributaries receive their water.

Drainage onto a less steep area


of the




of North


When the amount of water in a stream exceeds the capacity onto a less steep area

of the stream channel the water rises up over the banks

and floods the adjacent lowland called the floodplain.

A stream rises to its

bankfull stage (just

filling channel) about

once every 1.5-2 years.

The physical

characteristics of the

stream channel are

adjusted to carry this

volume of water.


Floodplains can be many tens onto a less steep area

of miles wide and it may be

impossible to see the river from

parts of the floodplain.

Figure 16.36 A and B onto a less steep area

Floods are a natural,

recurring phenomenon,

but the frequency and

severity of flooding can

be made worse by

human activities.

1993 Midwest


References dr terri woods
References onto a less steep areaDr. Terri Woods