Home Back Next Print Exit
Introduction How Rivers Run Stories Value Of A River What We Can Do
Shape of a River - Geomorphology
Slope

Click to enlarge

As a stream forms meanders, it becomes longer and has a more gradual slope than its valley. A river's slope is usually expressed in feet of vertical drop per mile of longitudinal reach. The changing gradient plotted over the river's length is the stream's longitudinal profile. The profile of most streams begins steep and gradually levels out.

Underlying geological features such as bedrock ledges alter the pattern of meanders and interrupt the gradient, causing features such as waterfalls.

Over time, a stream continually readjusts its channel, moving sediment, shifting riffles and bends, scouring out new channels and abandoning old channels as they fill with sediment.


Next Page

Introduction
Flow
Shape
Description
Variables
Bankfull flows
Classification
Sediment
Patterns
Slope
Habitat
Change
Consequences
Stories
Connections
Quality
Life
Summary
Home | References and Credits | Exit