Stream Channel Processes:

Go to the IGCSE WIKI page on River Processes and use the resources there to revise the processes occurring in a river. Make sure that you know the different processes of Erosion, Transport and Deposition.

The Hjulström Curve:

River Processes

More information on Fluvial Processes can be found on the S-cool site.

Exam Questions:
Describe two processes involved in the transport of a river’s load. [2+2]
Explain how stream discharge is related to channel size and shape. [6]

The Rivers Profile:

Long profile and Cross section.jpg


landforms_in_the_upper_course.ppt landforms in the middle and lower course of a_river.ppt

Features of Erosion and Deposition:


Braided Stream

Braided river, NZ.jpg


Levee formation.png


Deposition animation.png

River Terraces:

River terrace diagram.jpg




DB Cartoon.gif
Click on the image to be taken to an excellent summary of Fluvial Process and Landforms from the British Geographer.

Exam Question:

To what extent do you agree that river landforms can be classified as either erosional or depositional? [10 marks]


Human Modification of Floodplains:

Urban Hydrology:


effect of urbanization1 (1).jpg

8. Human Modifications to Floodplain.pptx

Human Modifications (Urban Hydrology): Humans can change the hydrology of rivers in many ways. Below is a summary of some of the most common.

Urbanisation: Urbanisation tends to cause deforestation reducing interception and transpiration. Sewers also reduce surface stores and therefore evaporation. Urban areas usually create large impermeable surfaces which can lead to greater surface run-off.

Sewer Systems: Generally sewer systems create create artificial channels, which often reduces a rivers’ lag time and can lead to increased flooding downstream.

Pollution: Transport, industry and housing all create pollution which works its way into the water system. Areas that don’t have proper sewers and water treatment tend to be effected more. Metals and chemicals are particularly polluting.

Water table (groundwater depletion): Unsustainable use of groundwater can cause subsidence. Mexico City has experienced subsidence because of aquifer depletion underneath the city. On the scale, London has actually seen its water table rise since deindustrialisation has meant the demand for water has fallen.

Deforestation: Deforestation reduces interception and transpiration. Removal of trees can also increase the risk of mudslide by reducing slope stability and stops root uptake. Less interception speeds up the rate the ground become saturated and therefore increases the risk of flooding

Micro-climate: Urban areas create heat islands which can increase convectional rainfall. Particulates released by industry and transport also make excellent condensation nuclei.

Channelisation: Artificially smoothing channels may remove river discharge from one area, but areas down stream that haven’t been smoothed are likely to experience an increase risk of flooding.


Cut out the different strategies below and then sort them from ‘best to worst’. After this, discuss the criteria of what is best to worst. Create a spider diagram with the possible considerations or different objectives that might influence the ordering.

river_management_strategies card sort.docx

Managing the Rhine:

An artists impression of the view upstream from Istein towards Basel in 1820.jpg

Rhine map 1828-1882.PNG
The Rhine has been manged for many years. This maps dates back to 1882. Source unknown.

You can read more about the changes that have taken place on the Rhine here. (German). The page outlines the way the Rine has been managed since the 1800’s.

Rhine interactive.PNG
Click on the map to open the Interactive map of the Rhine

Lai de Tuma (Source of the Rhine).jpg

Rhine Dams in Switzerland.jpg

Billions needed for flood protection in Switzerland:

Swiss Hazard Map.PNG

An Alternative to Hard Flood Protection: Rhesi


Describe two stream management strategies – one where you believe the costs outweigh the benefits and a second where the benefits outweigh the costs. [6 marks]

With reference to one named area of floodplain, evaluate the costs and benefits of at least three different stream management strategies. (10)