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Williams River in Alaska The Upper Waimakariri River in New
Zealand

wrant Howard
weomorphology 42:278
 
J What is Channel Pattern
J Meandering Channels
J Braided Channels
J Why Meandering? or Why Braided?
J Head-to-Head Comparison of Meandering & Braided
Channels
J Conclusion
à   
 
J Channel pattern refers to the overall appearance of the
stream or river
J 3 main types of channel patterns: meandering, braided and
straight
J It is possible to have a river in which has more than one
type of channel type

Tigre River, Argentina Braided river in Iceland


à   
 

Meandering /
Braided
combination
0     Meander
Migration
J Meanders in meandering channels are
mostly initiated by the turbulence and
velocity of the flow
J The deflection of flow in meandering
rivers is due to centrifugal forces on the
outer edge of the meander
J The migration of meanders is a positive
feedback loop because the system is
moving away from the original state
that it was in

Oxbow
lake
0       
J And because of all the
sediment deposited on Ñ And because of the higher
the inside of the velocity on the outer edge
of meander a helical flow
meander a point bar may
is created
be formed

Ñ Meandering rivers are


measured by sinuosity
index
ÿ inuosity =
stream length/valley
length
0       

Point bars
G  
J Measured in terms of the degree of braiding and expressed
as a ratio of bar length to channel length
J Primarily bedload deposition; resulting in braid bars
J In braided rivers of dominantly coarse material the bars are
longitudinal and diamond-shaped
J Whereas in dominantly sandy material braided rivers the
bars are frequently covered in ripples and dunes
J 2 variations of braided channels: confined braided systems
and free-braided systems
J And during a flood event in a braided river finer sediment
can end up on top of the coarser sediment on the bars
G     

Multiple
channels

Braid
bars
G     
J Braided rivers are consistently changing there plan
form just like meandering channels do
J The bars/islands are constantly shifting and increasing
or decreasing in size
J In Canada braided rivers are especially common on
glacial outwash deposits in the Cordillera and in the
Arctic
G     

Deposited
sediments Ȃ
creating a
braid bar

Fossil Creek - Coral Harbour, Nunavut


à 0    à G 
    
J Why a channel results in one or the other is a
debateable topic
J But the consensus answer is that is the main influence is
the erodibility of the bank material
J And erodibilityǯs biggest factor sediment type and
vegetation
J Of course there are other factors influencing the
channel type, such as: channel width, depth ratio, water
velocity, sediment transport/deposition and the make-
up of the sediment
"     

Bank erosion on the Upper Iowa River


0    G 
0      
J eries of curves of J Numerous dividing and
approximately same shape reuniting channels with
intervening bars or islands
J Deep, narrow channels and
banks J Braided river channels tend
to be wide and shallow
J Banks and channels are fairly J Braided river banks are easily
resistant to erosion eroded
J Meandering rivers tend to J One or more channels are
only have one primary usually dominant in large
channel braided rivers
J Less steep gradient J teeper gradient
0    G 
0      
J ediment load is primarily J ediment load is primarily
carried in suspended load carried in bedload
J The flow tends to be more J lower, less turbulent flow
turbulent J Floodplains are not as well
J Well developed floodplains developed
J Associated with more finer J Associated with coarser
materials, like clay and silt materials , like gravel
J Meandering channels are the J Far fewer braided channels in
dominant pattern today todayǯs world
J Meandering rivers tend to J Braided rivers discharge levels
have stable discharge levels can vary a lot
0    G 
Braided river - East Fork Toklat River -
Denali National Park, Alaska

Meandering river on the


North lope, Yukon
 
J 3 main types of channel pattern: meandering, braided, and
straight
J The consensus answer for what channel pattern a river takes on is
primarily because of the erodibility of the channel bank
J Point bars and oxbow lakes are associated with meandering
rivers....braid bars are associated with braided rivers
J Meandering rivers are measured by sinuosity....braided rivers are
measured by the degree of braiding in the river
J Meandering rivers are primarily finer sediment and carried in
suspension....braided rivers are primarily coarser sediment and
mostly carried by bedload
J Meandering rivers are much more common....there are only 2
braided rivers in all of Europe!
J Meandering rivers have deep, narrow channels, whereas braided
rivers tend to have wide, shallow channels
J Meandering rivers typically have just one dominant channel and
braided rivers will have multiple channels
Î  
Point bar

Polar bear