Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Meanders, Oxbows, and Time

My colleague, Brad Dimock, sent along a link recently that I know you will find interesting. It involves a cartoon graphic that shows the way mature rivers meander and evolve through time. You will see meanders turn into oxbow lakes that are cut-off from the main stem, then fill with sediment. You will see point bars grow as meander loops arch outwards. You could look a this for a half hour and not see enough. The site was constructed by Robert Hodgin. Watch it here. Thanks Brad!

Here are photos I took of the upper Amazon River near Iquitos Peru in September, 2009. You can easily see the meanders and oxbow lakes. Imagine that these are migrating and moving just like in the graphic above, but on a much slower pace. 


  1. In Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain notes the rate at which the river is shortening itself every year by cutting through meanders, and proves with impeccable logic that by the 26th Century the river will be only a mile and three-quarters long.

    1. Jim Darrow - I love it! Thank you, WR


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