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River processes

Rivers shape the land from their source to their mouth. Watch this video to find out how.


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Key points

  • Erosion is the wearing away of rock and soil along the river bed and banks
  • Hydraulic action is when the river forces air into cracks and crevices, gradually wearing the riverbank away.
  • Abrasion is where rocks get carried along by the river, wearing down its bed and banks.
  • Attrition is when rocks, carried by the river, smash together and break into smaller, smoother particles.
  • Solution is when particles of rock dissolve into the river.
  • Rivers transport material by solution, suspension, traction and saltation.
  • Solution is when dissolved minerals get transported.
  • Saltation is when small pebbles and stones bounce along the river bed.
  • Suspension is when fine light material gets carried along.
  • Traction is when large boulders and rocks roll along the river bed.

All Geography videos

Water and rivers index

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