Rivers have an upper, middle and lower course. Each course has its own features. Watch the video to find out more.
Rivers have an upper, middle and lower course.
In the upper course, the river erodes the landscape and bends to avoid hard rock, creating interlocking spurs.
Rapids and waterfalls can form when it runs over alternating layers of hard and soft rock. This is because soft rock erodes more easily than hard rock.
In the middle course the river flows on a gentler slope with more energy and volume. Sideways erosion widens the channel to the right and then the left forming horseshoe-like loops called meanders.
Over time the meander becomes tighter. Eventually the river can flow over two ends leaving an oxbow lake.
In the lower course, a high volume of water flows over flat land. It now has a wide floodplain which is the area around a river that is covered when it floods. Floodplains are fertile and good for agriculture because of the rich alluvium in floodwaters.
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