River landforms

A river's features will change as it moves from the upper course to the lower course.

StageMain activityMain features
Upper course (steep gradient)Vertical (downward) erosionSource, tributaries, V-shaped valley, interlocking spurs, waterfalls, rapids, gorges
Middle course (gentle gradient)Lateral (sideways) erosion starts, transportationRiver beaches (slip-off slopes), meanders, river cliffs
Lower course (very low gradient)DepositionFloodplains, levées, delta,

In the upper course river features include steep-sided V-shaped valleys, interlocking spurs, rapids, waterfalls and gorges.

Upper course river features - Interlocking spursUpper course river features.