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River Meanders

Hydrology River Flood Grand canyon Entrenched meanders Meanders

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#1 Stripe

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 09:04 AM

River meanders.

When a flow of water crosses a piece of land, it moves the sediment it crosses. How it moves the sediment is determined by the grade of the river (it's steepness - and thus, its speed), the volume of the river, by local terrain and rock type.

The number one factor to keep in mind is that a river's flow most easily affects its banks. The flow does affect the riverbed, but because anything removed will generally be replaced, there is rarely any significant change wrought by the action of a river on its bed.

The banks, however, are a different story. They are easily undermined and have gravity working against them so are always changing.

For reasons we need not go into, a straight flow of water over homogenous terrain and sediment type will tend to form meanders. It can start flowing in a straight line, but it will soon find one point where it wants to turn left or right. Once a little erosion happens on one bank at that point, the flow will continue to eat away at that side. This will cause a downstream point on the opposite bank to receive a extra force of current which will erode faster. This point will cause a similar extra force of current on the opposite side further down and so on downstream so that the "S" shaped erosion pattern of a meandering river will soon be established.

These meanders are easy to find on most any calm water river flowing upon open terrain.

What is interesting from a flood perspective is the meanders we see that were not formed by the flows that we see today.

More on that later: :)

#2 Geode

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 02:23 AM

River meanders.

When a flow of water crosses a piece of land, it moves the sediment it crosses. How it moves the sediment is determined by the grade of the river (it's steepness - and thus, its speed), the volume of the river, by local terrain and rock type.


And also it is affected by base level as well as the amount of sediment load in the river.

The number one factor to keep in mind is that a river's flow most easily affects its banks. The flow does affect the riverbed, but because anything removed will generally be replaced, there is rarely any significant change wrought by the action of a river on its bed.


Actually channels do routinely erode the riverbed, with the amount of erosion affected by the nature of the substrate, the velocity of the river, base level, and sediment load. But often it bis as you state, that there is not much erosion there due to the fact that sediment is being deposited, such as in a braided steam. In meandering streams the erosion is often greater laterally, and that is why they migrate

The banks, however, are a different story. They are easily undermined and have gravity working against them so are always changing.


Some cut banks are as you post here, some are not. There are entrenched river channels that do not have the same degree of lateral erosion as noted here.

For reasons we need not go into, a straight flow of water over homogenous terrain and sediment type will tend to form meanders. It can start flowing in a straight line, but it will soon find one point where it wants to turn left or right. Once a little erosion happens on one bank at that point, the flow will continue to eat away at that side. This will cause a downstream point on the opposite bank to receive a extra force of current which will erode faster. This point will cause a similar extra force of current on the opposite side further down and so on downstream so that the "S" shaped erosion pattern of a meandering river will soon be established.

These meanders are easy to find on most any calm water river flowing upon open terrain.


Meandering streams are indeed a common occurence. Still waters do in fact run deep.

What is interesting from a flood perspective is the meanders we see that were not formed by the flows that we see today.

More on that later: :)


It will be interesting to see how you amplify this point.

#3 Stripe

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:36 AM

Some cut banks are as you post here, some are not. There are entrenched river channels that do not have the same degree of lateral erosion as noted here.

We'll get to those. :)

#4 jason777

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:14 AM

In the flood layers, all I've seen are fluid escape channels in heterogeneous layers that do have any cobbles present. These two facts should be a strong argument against any river channels being present.

Posted Image

Note the river channels in the redwall limestone. These cannot be river channels since no cobbles are present and the channels reappear in the same place in a higher strata. They are fluid escape channels from water being squeezed out of a hyper concentrated flow.

Also note the topography in the precambrian surface just below 3a. All of the layers should have an equivalent topography if long ages can be inferred.


Enjoy.

#5 Stripe

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:39 PM

I'm only interested in rivers over current topography. Not in paleo-rivers. :)

#6 Stripe

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 12:41 AM

OK.

Time for an unnecessarily large image:

Posted Image
-image source.


That's how to mathematically express a meander. Pretty basic physics, though - river flows towards the outside of a bend increasing flow rate, friction and thus erosion on the outside bank of bends. Conversely the insides see less speed, less friction and usually more deposition than erosion.

The key thing to remember is that the size and length of meanders is predictable by the flow size and flow rate. If you know the discharge of a river (how much water flows out of it in a given time) you can predict the size of its meanders.

So to an example. Let's take a case study: the Tarawera River in New Zealand. The Google Map should open up a small section of the river in which you can see a wavelength worth of meander (latitude and longitude is -38.11855, 176.66173). This meander size should be somewhat predictable by the amount of water flowing through the Tarawera in a given time.

But that's not overly interesting. What is interesting, from a flood perspective, is the meanders we see that were not formed by the flows that we see today. This meander on the Tarawera has a ready explanation. The flow we see. But what if we zoom out a little on the Tarawera (and I've switched to "Terrain" view)?

Now you should see the same section of the river as in the first link, but from a much higher perspective. Actually you should see many kilometers of meanders. But can you see the meander that was not generated by the flow we see today?



#7 Calypsis4

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 08:46 AM

OK.

Time for an unnecessarily large image:

Posted Image
-image source.


That's how to mathematically express a meander. Pretty basic physics, though - river flows towards the outside of a bend increasing flow rate, friction and thus erosion on the outside bank of bends. Conversely the insides see less speed, less friction and usually more deposition than erosion.

The key thing to remember is that the size and length of meanders is predictable by the flow size and flow rate. If you know the discharge of a river (how much water flows out of it in a given time) you can predict the size of its meanders.

So to an example. Let's take a case study: the Tarawera River in New Zealand. The Google Map should open up a small section of the river in which you can see a wavelength worth of meander (latitude and longitude is -38.11855, 176.66173). This meander size should be somewhat predictable by the amount of water flowing through the Tarawera in a given time.

But that's not overly interesting. What is interesting, from a flood perspective, is the meanders we see that were not formed by the flows that we see today. This meander on the Tarawera has a ready explanation. The flow we see. But what if we zoom out a little on the Tarawera (and I've switched to "Terrain" view)?

Now you should see the same section of the river as in the first link, but from a much higher perspective. Actually you should see many kilometers of meanders. But can you see the meander that was not generated by the flow we see today?


Thanks for that. Do you have more examples?

#8 Stripe

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:20 AM

Thanks for that. Do you have more examples?

Oh, yes. There are plenty! Take any river in your area and look for meanders that we're made by today's flows. Then zoom out, switch to "terrain" view and look for meanders on a larger scale with no contemporary flow.

Post your results here. :)

I can't easily link to examples on this device.

#9 joman

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 11:32 AM

Water flowing forward down a gentle sloped plain faces greater resistance straight ahead as it attempts to move the sediment ahead of it and thus slows and drops the sediments that it already carries. The impeding of the flow masses the sediment load ahead of the water and so it turns aside to the less massive side path and thus meanders as predictably as is the predictability of the plain structure. Google the Mississippi River and you will see that from around St Louis it meanders south to the Gulf. And that all along its path it has, much larger in width, oxbow lakes. The size, and width of which oxbow lakes prove how much vaster in size the river once was. And, that it was larger for only some short period of time. At some point after flowing at a greater former volume of water, the river then began to wxhibit a much less volume of water. For, that that is what explains the cause of the oxbow lake formations but a much smaller present river. The Missippippi has remained at the present new flow average rate ever since. This suggests to me, that after the flood of Noah, there were immediately found to the north, vast snow fields that soon began to melt at a steady rate. A rate which continued for some unspecified time before eventually receding in volume to what we suppose is normal. The thing about the grand canyon that is nonsensical to me is to note that if we do actually imagine there ever was a river the width and size of the upper most terrain of the grand canyon today, then, we can surmise that it must have been a river many miles across. And so, surely, it would had to have been a very shallow river with no power to erode nor meander.
I note that all side canyon slopes reach down to the same depth of the river. They slope at various rates, and at much steeper rates than other slopes of the canyon. And they do so through many kinds of materials, at many points all along the course of the river. And yet, they arrive at the same depth? Therefore, I reason that all the gullies, and river bank slopes themselves were created at the same time, in the soft sediments of the very same event. And could not have been produced at various times, through varieties of hardness of sediment layers, over vast eras of time.
That is, each gully should itself, exhibit changing slopes for each layer of sediment, and exhibit hints of stepped formations as well. what is suggested to my mind, therefore, is that the beginning of the erosion of the most upper terrain exhibits the width of a massive flood front on a flood plain. And does not correspond to a normal river, since, its too wide, narrows to quickly, and shows no ancient pathway to the sea that is of a similar width or depth as to accomodate such a volume of water.
I note that the river that now exists is one that like all normal rivers, extends its path all the way to the sea exhibiting a conformidable size all along its path. (there being few confluences) Thus the former wide expanses we see cannot be representative of a former river, since, the errosive power needed to erode the sides to form the slopes we see today, had to have been due to a high flow rate. And yet, no remnants of the path that such a high volume of river water had to have taken to get to the sea. (no appropriately sized river path).
To my mind the former width of the canyon exhibits the result of a wide, violently flooded plain, consisting then, of soft sediments, that were steadily exhausted out the south western end on the way to the sea.
I note the dendritic pattern the side canyons of the river form. That to me represents a pattern formed most likely by a violent cracking event that occurred across a large plain of semi-dried sediments. Such as would be expected after the flood of Noah.
A crack which could have been the result of an earthquake. And an event that may have been closely related to a later undamming of the waters of a large lake. The dendritic pattern can be reasoned as exibiting the path of a tangentially moving wave front that naturally seeks any paths of least resistance along its sides. (comparable to a lightning bolt formation) The tangential force of a earthquake vibration can move forward and will exhaust its self into all weakness found on the sides of its main path. (as does the lightning boltenergy) The geologic evidence of this is found in that, all the side canyon have fault lines running down the middle of them. This is seen on a good geographical map.
I reason that, first, the crack formed down to the depth of the river we see today, with it's dendritic side path pattern laying across the plain that then existed. It could be that the plain was violently lifted, and so, the crack was caused as the semi-soft/semi-hard.sediments were forced to spread apart violently as the plain of sediments was raised up.
Then the water of the former lake flooded the plain and began to erode down into the sides of the cracks and finding a way out on the south west end of the forming canyon at its lowest end. As the water volume lessened in the canyon, then, the canyon narrowed. Whereas, the flat terraces we now finnd like steps on the sides of the canyon walls, are the remnant evidences of increases in flow rate out the south west drainage path.
That is, the canyon emptied out a much smaller drain path like a drain of a tub. The errosion of the slopes was therefore, more due to the softness of the sediments, and not due to supposed violence of high water flow rates of some great river with no path to the sea.
As the volume, and level of the water in the canyon lessened, then, the flow rate out of the canyon lessened due to less head pressure. Thus, the steep river channels reveal how the great depth of water above the drainage path was while being driven out of the canyon at high velocity, and great erosion power for a short length of time, and then, sloweing and slowing, with intermittent periods of higher rates due to sediment loads being evacuated haphazardly at the drain end of the canyon. It can then be supposed that, with there having been at various times, different breakthroughs in the outlet path of the canyon's waters the stepped levels seen on the canyon slopes as terraces, were made when water was more quickly exhausted at a new rate at particular times during the overall canyon drainage period. One thing to note if you can allow your self to admit it... There is no such thing as pure sediment layers made by natural environments of long ages because for such as that to occur one would have to suppose that during a vast time period only one recipe of sediment materials was allowed to be deposited. Which is a ridiculous notion. The color banding we see in the canyon reveals that all the bands were formed in the same deep waters by natural physics forces of gravity, and the seperating out of sediments by recipe due to flow rates, granular size and shape, and specific gravity. There exists no other known force of nature that seperates out materials except for appropriate depths of water with suspended varieties of materials in it. Same as out in space where no purifying filter of materials exists by which to form planets that are diverse and limited in elemental materials.

#10 Stripe

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 06:38 PM

Kind of off topic, mate.

I like that topic, but the events you describe have nothing to do with meanders. :)

#11 joman

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 04:04 AM

Kind of off topic, mate.

I like that topic, but the events you describe have nothing to do with meanders. :)

Your right I got side tracked.

I suppose I quite naturally don't see much significance in the subject of meanderings so apparently I followed the first rabbit trail discoved by another poster!

My main point was that, I have used google earth to view the path of the Mississippi River's meandering down to the Gulf of Mexico. And, I noticed how all along its path there are oxbow lake remnants of a former Mississippi River that was much larger.

That to me suggested that the volume of water was much greater for a time in the past.

Since, I believe the flood of Noah was a historical event of immense depth that stretched over the earth's full global extent, I have come to conclude that after the flood there were vast snow fields produced in the polar extremes, especially in the North. Which makes sense to me because of the expect greater evaporation rate and thus subsequent rain and snowfall that would then fall during the winters immediate to the flood. The large snowfalls would have occurred due to warmer water than normal, warm due to geologic events.

And so, the Mississippi River meandering that produced the large number of oxbow lakes on both sides of its valley that I saw, led me to conclud them to be evidence of a former larger Mississippi River that was larger because of the melting of the vast snow fields in the north.
I have wondered why no one in books I have read, or that I am aware of has made mention of these oxbow lakes.
I suspect that these oxbow lakes reveal a young topography. And, I think that they show that there were no former cycle of ice ages, but instead, only one still receding one occurring after the flood of Noah.
I reason that, had there been former cycles of ice ages, thena there should be remnants of many of them and not merely a remnant of one of them.

If meandering occurs on plains with gentle slopes, then, how come there exist some deep canyons with meanderings etched in them in solid rock as if by extremely violent water?

I reason that such canyon meanderings occurred in plains of soft sediment that solidified completely as time passed after the flood of Noah. And I think it is clear that no such meandering can have been formed by water crossing over a plain of hard rock.

I also noticed in one of the most famous of meandering canyons etched in hard sediment layers out west in North America, that when I looked off into the distance I saw the very same curvature on meandering mesa or plateau cliffs as if the water of the flood of Noah produced them on that grander scale before etching the canyons at the much deeper level of strata.

#12 Stripe

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 07:53 AM

Your right I got side tracked.

No problem, sir. :)

My main point was that, I have used google earth to view the path of the Mississippi River's meandering down to the Gulf of Mexico. And, I noticed how all along its path there are oxbow lake remnants of a former Mississippi River that was much larger.

That part was on topic. :D

That to me suggested that the volume of water was much greater for a time in the past.

Oxbow lakes of the same width as the current river would be formed by the flows we see today. Can you link to the Google Map location you refer to?

If meandering occurs on plains with gentle slopes, then, how come there exist some deep canyons with meanderings etched in them in solid rock as if by extremely violent water?

Meandering is the result of gentle flows. The depth and width of the flow help determine the size of the meanders. Large and deep meanders are not the result of "violence", just volume.

I reason that such canyon meanderings occurred in plains of soft sediment that solidified completely as time passed after the flood of Noah. And I think it is clear that no such meandering can have been formed by water crossing over a plain of hard rock.

Yup.

I also noticed in one of the most famous of meandering canyons etched in hard sediment layers out west in North America, that when I looked off into the distance I saw the very same curvature on meandering mesa or plateau cliffs as if the water of the flood of Noah produced them on that grander scale before etching the canyons at the much deeper level of strata.

Really? That'd be interesting to see. Please post the Google Maps link.

#13 Salsa

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:48 AM

Stripe, I don't think I've ever come across anyone with such a passion for meanders... not that I recall anyway :P
  • Stripe likes this

#14 Stripe

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:52 AM

You should hear me trying to tell a story... :D

#15 SomchaiA

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:47 PM

River meanders.

When a flow of water crosses a piece of land, it moves the sediment it crosses. How it moves the sediment is determined by the grade of the river (it's steepness - and thus, its speed), the volume of the river, by local terrain and rock type.

The number one factor to keep in mind is that a river's flow most easily affects its banks. The flow does affect the riverbed, but because anything removed will generally be replaced, there is rarely any significant change wrought by the action of a river on its bed.

The banks, however, are a different story. They are easily undermined and have gravity working against them so are always changing.

For reasons we need not go into, a straight flow of water over homogenous terrain and sediment type will tend to form meanders. It can start flowing in a straight line, but it will soon find one point where it wants to turn left or right. Once a little erosion happens on one bank at that point, the flow will continue to eat away at that side. This will cause a downstream point on the opposite bank to receive a extra force of current which will erode faster. This point will cause a similar extra force of current on the opposite side further down and so on downstream so that the "S" shaped erosion pattern of a meandering river will soon be established.

These meanders are easy to find on most any calm water river flowing upon open terrain.

What is interesting from a flood perspective is the meanders we see that were not formed by the flows that we see today.

More on that later: :)


The city I live in has large river meanders in it. It is quite remarkable.

#16 Stripe

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 07:35 AM

Heh, yeah. Those can be more than remarkable at times. :)

#17 SomchaiA

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 12:26 AM

Heh, yeah. Those can be more than remarkable at times. Posted Image

But last year the level of the river was so high that it spilled over the banks and flooded many homes. It was tragic occurence.

#18 AFJ

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 07:57 AM

OK.

Time for an unnecessarily large image:

Posted Image
-image source.


That's how to mathematically express a meander. Pretty basic physics, though - river flows towards the outside of a bend increasing flow rate, friction and thus erosion on the outside bank of bends. Conversely the insides see less speed, less friction and usually more deposition than erosion.

The key thing to remember is that the size and length of meanders is predictable by the flow size and flow rate. If you know the discharge of a river (how much water flows out of it in a given time) you can predict the size of its meanders.

So to an example. Let's take a case study: the Tarawera River in New Zealand. The Google Map should open up a small section of the river in which you can see a wavelength worth of meander (latitude and longitude is -38.11855, 176.66173). This meander size should be somewhat predictable by the amount of water flowing through the Tarawera in a given time.

But that's not overly interesting. What is interesting, from a flood perspective, is the meanders we see that were not formed by the flows that we see today. This meander on the Tarawera has a ready explanation. The flow we see. But what if we zoom out a little on the Tarawera (and I've switched to "Terrain" view)?

Now you should see the same section of the river as in the first link, but from a much higher perspective. Actually you should see many kilometers of meanders. But can you see the meander that was not generated by the flow we see today?


No I dont. I'm not sure of your point here. It seems that the pass through the higher terrain on both sides of the pass would be formed by a larger current than today, and that the meanders could be formed by less current.

Many creeks (barring large rivers such as the Missippi, Cumberland, etc.) have smaller banks inside of a larger flood gorge. I live near the Mississippi River, and there are many of these flood gorges with small banked streams in the bottom of the gorge. These were obviously formed in the pre-levee days.

#19 Stripe

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 04:32 AM

No I dont. I'm not sure of your point here. It seems that the pass through the higher terrain on both sides of the pass would be formed by a larger current than today, and that the meanders could be formed by less current.

That's the point. :)

#20 SomchaiA

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 02:12 AM

No I dont. I'm not sure of your point here. It seems that the pass through the higher terrain on both sides of the pass would be formed by a larger current than today, and that the meanders could be formed by less current.

Many creeks (barring large rivers such as the Missippi, Cumberland, etc.) have smaller banks inside of a larger flood gorge. I live near the Mississippi River, and there are many of these flood gorges with small banked streams in the bottom of the gorge. These were obviously formed in the pre-levee days.

But creeks don't meander like rivers do so I don't see why you take exception to the post before your post.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Hydrology, River, Flood, Grand canyon, Entrenched meanders, Meanders

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