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MIDDLE COURSE OF THE RIVER

General Characteristics –

- Decrease in gradient

- Increase in lateral erosion / decrease in vertical erosion

- Increase in deposition

- Channel is deeper and larger resulting in less effective friction causing the river
to flow faster

- Cross-section of valley takes on an open V shape

FEATURES FORMED

1- Development of meanders –
A river’s natural course is never a straight one. As the river moves
around the small bends, erosion is concentrated on the outer bend or
concave bend (as this is where the force of the water is the greatest) and
deposition on the inner or convex bend (as the water is shallower and the
force of the water is directed towards the outer bend).
This causes the bends to widen and become more pronounced
forming large bends or meanders.

Due to constant erosion of outer bends and deposition on inner


bends, a meander may move laterally or ‘migrate’ downstream.
Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3
2 – River cliffs
Erosion on the outer bends (or concave bends) of the river
results in undercutting and therefore steepening of the slope (of the outer
bend) forming RIVER CLIFFS.
Basically, they are steep sides of the river resulting from
undercutting of the outer or concave bends.

3 – Slip-off slopes
These are gently sloping banks formed on the inner or convex
bends of rivers.
There is progressively less erosion towards the inner bend as the
greater force of the water is concentrated towards the outer bend - this
leads to a progressive deepening of the channel towards the outer bend.
4 – Point bars
These are deposits of sand and shingles (water rounded particles
of rock) on the slip-off slopes.
Deposition takes place on the inner bend because of slower
moving water and shallower water.

Cross section of meander showing River Cliff, Point Bar and Slip-off Slope