How Do Streams Move Across The Landscape?


Depending on the landscape they flow through, streams have different shapes. Meandering streams have one channel that snakes across the landscape. Over time, these curves can become so wide that they meet and cut off the bend from the rest of the stream, creating oxbow lakes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does water move over a landscape?

The most obvious way water moves through a landscape is via stream and river channels. In addition, streams sculpt much of the surface of the Earth, forming a multitude of beautiful patterns and awe-inspiring features, as shown in Figure 1. ...

How do streams erode landscapes?

In addition to eroding the bedrock and previously deposited sediments along its route, a stream constantly abrades and weathers the individual rock and soil particles carried by its water. Hydraulic action, abrasion, and solution are the three main ways that streams erode the earth's surface.

What causes streams to move?

Water flows downhill due to Earth's gravity (force of attraction between two masses) pulling it. Streams, like rivers, are gravity-driven bodies of moving surface water that drain water from the continents.

How is a stream different from a river?

The term “stream” is often used interchangeably with “river,” though “stream” usually refers to a smaller body of water. Streams take on different shapes depending on the landscape through which they flow. Cascade s, or waterfall s, are formed when shallow water flows over and around large rocks.

What happens when a river overflows its channel?

When a river floods or overflows its channel, the area where the stream flows is suddenly much broader and shallower than it was when it was in its channel. This slows down the velocity of the stream’s flow and causes the stream to drop off much of its load.

How does sediment move along the bottom of a stream?

As the loose sediments are moved along the bottom of the river channel, small bedforms (formations of sediment on the bottom of the stream bed) can develop, such as ripples and sand dunes. The total load (quantity of sediment) of a stream can be described as consisting of three components:

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