What is a meander

What is a meander: The channels or river beds of a river are the conduit through which water circulates. Its morphology (in terms of sinuosity and braiding or number of internal bars) allows us to differentiate three types of channels: rectilinear, braided or anastomosed, and meandering or meandering.

What is a meander and its characteristics

What is a meander: definition geography: We start by clarifying what meanders are exactly. We can indicate that meanders are the curves that describe the rivers as they pass. The rivers that run through the territory tracing this series of curves, of greater or lesser opening, are known as meandering or meandering rivers . Some of the main characteristics of meanders are shown below :

  • They present a very marked sinuosity, by which they are easily distinguishable.
  • They usually originate in rivers located on alluvial plains with little slope.
  • It has a greater capacity to drag and transport sediments, compared to straight rivers.
  • The final deposition of sediments gives rise to the formation of lobes or point bars.
  • An increase in the flow of the river accentuates the sinuosity of the meanders.
  • The dynamic behavior of meanders is the product of the erosive and sedimentary action of fresh waters .
  • The course of these meandering rivers is unstable, and a horseshoe or oxbow lake can be formed.
  • The formation of meanders differs according to the river, as it depends on factors such as flow, current speed and the material composition of the channel. It is also taken into account for its classification: according to Miall’s (1977) classification of channels, meandering channels are those that have a sinuosity> 1.5 (sinuosity index). meandering river example
  • They increase the length of the river.
  • Among the main parts of a meander, we can indicate that the external part, due to greater speed and turbulence, is the erosive zone; while, the internal part is the sedimentation part.

What is a meander: Definition geography: After knowing its definition and its characteristics, you may wonder how meanders are formed . Although we have previously indicated that it is a process that depends on various factors, now we will clarify it.

Definition geography: The meanders are formed in alluvial plains , with little slope, due to changes in the water flow. In the section of higher speed, the erosive processes are accentuated, so that the water excavates the shore, giving rise to a concave shape of the land; meanwhile, in the part where the water flows more slowly, sedimentation processes predominate. meandering river example

What is a meander: Knowing what the definition of meander is and how the curves of rivers are formed, now some more questions arise such as, for example, what is an abandoned meander and what is a meander choke . An increase in the flow of rivers increases the capacity to carry sediments and causes the limits of the meander of a river to blur. In this way, in what is known as narrowing of the meander, the waters follow a more rectilinear course and the accumulation of sediment at the ends that connect the new course with the old meander gives rise to what is known as an abandoned meander.

What is a meander: Types of meanders

What is a meander: Meanders can be of two types: divergent or embedded.

  • The divergent meanders originate due to the low slope in floodplains.
  • The embedded meanders are formed by changes in the base level, so that the water flows in a downward direction, and they are located in narrow and steep valleys. Example: embedded meander of the Duero in Los Infierno.

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