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Dynamic Planet - River Processes and Pressures - 5

River Processes and Pressures


How do rivers change from source to mouth?
Along a rivers upper course, near the source, vertical erosion is dominant forming Vshaped valleys, waterfalls and gorges. n the middle course lateral erosion and deposition result in meanders, o!-"ow la#es and flood plains. $he lower course %towards the mouth& sees large meanders, flood plains and deposition to form estuaries and deltas.

Changes in cross and long profile

Dynamic Planet - River Processes and Pressures - 5

Features: The upper course:

'.g. $he River (harfe, ). 'ngland* source + ,uc#den ,ec#


Weathering* ,iological %"rea#down of roc#s "y plant roots and "urrowing animals&, -hemical %"rea#down of roc# due to slightly acidic rain dissolving limestones&, Physical %"rea#down of roc# due to free.e- thaw process&.

ass movement* -arries weathered material, %scree& down slope.

Features: The middle course:

/ver time continued erosion can lead to the development of an o!-"ow la#e.

Dynamic Planet - River Processes and Pressures - 5

Features: The lower course

'.g. $he River (harfe, ). 'ngland* mouth + 0um"er 'stuary, )orth 1ea

!stuaries* 'stuaries are formed where the river meets the sea. As the river meets the sea it loses speed and deposits material. $his forms mudflats. $hese can "e colonised "y plants and wildlife. $hese plants will "e adapted to live in salty conditions "ecause the tides ma#e the area a salt marsh.

River Flooding

Dynamic Planet - River Processes and Pressures - 5

What are the causes of floods? Physical -auses


Prolonged rainfall* $his saturates the soil until it can a"sor" no more water. Hard Dry "oil* 1oils "a#ed hard "y dry weather, rain cant soa# into it easily so will run over and flood instead. Weather Conditions* 0urricanes and storms can ma#e pro"lems worse with periods of intense rainfall. "now melt* $emperatures can rise and melt snow. Flat 'and* $his can "e a pro"lem "ecause flood water has no-where to drain.

0uman -auses
Deforestation* -utting down trees means less water is intercepted and used "y trees. Human #nterference* 0umans often try to prevent floods, %e.g. "y levees& they may wor# in some cases "ut often ma#e matters worse if they fail. $r%anisation* ,uilding cities means water cannot "e a"sor"ed into soil2 instead it flows over concrete and fills drains. &lo%al Warming* -ould cause more intense rainfall which can lead to flash floods

What are the effects of flooding?

How can flooding %e managed?


0ard 'ngineering* Are to control nature. $hey are usually e!pensive and can have a negative impact on the environment. 1oft 'ngineering* A more sustaina%le approach, as it wor#s with nature. t will also help the local environment and is cheaper. () River "heaf* 'o+ley and Don +1heffield* 3enerally hard engineering, these made flooding worse in 4556 when they where overwhelmed* 4 people drowned, 7455 homes flooded, 7555 "usinesses affected. + 8rains and em"an#ments overflowed. ,) River "-erne + 8arlington 1oft engineering %flood plain .oning9 no "uilding on flood plain, so no damage, restoring meanders, to slow the river flow down&, has prevented property damage and improved local ecosystems.