Browse: Streams

Grand Canyon, Arizona
This site displays many characteristics of landscapes susceptible to high rates of erosion and sediment production: steep slopes, little vegetation cover, loose soil and rock at the surface, and a climate of intense storms. Sediment produced here becomes part of the load of the Colorado River.

Virgin River, Nevada
The Virgin River carries a high sediment load. Suspended load can be seen in the turbid (muddy) water. Bed load is also being carried--previous bed load deposits are apparent in the rounded boulders on the floodplain.
Colorado River, Arizona
The Colorado River is shown here just below Glen Canyon Dam as the river enters the Grand Canyon. In the foreground is water with a high suspended load (note the silt and sand deposit at the water’s edge). This sediment load comes from the Paria River, that enters just off the left edge of the photo. Clear water in the background has been released from Glen Canyon Dam, which traps the sediment load of the Colorado.
Colorado River, Arizona
Density differences keep the turbid water from the Paria River and the clear water released into the Colorado from Glen Canyon Dam separate, even well below the confluence of these two water sources. The turbulence indicates high stream power capable of transporting a large sediment load.
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder Creek carries primarily bed load. The clear water indicates very little suspended matter. Larger rocks on the stream bed are stationary in this photo, but move episodically during larger discharge events.
Northern Nicaragua
These large boulders, some several meters in diameter, have all been transported as bedload during large flood events.
Grant River, Wisconsin
This is an example of an artificially straightened stream. The stream may have been channelized to: (1) prevent meandering into the valuable floodplain farmland, (2) deepen the channel and provide soil drainage for the field, and (3) provide straight flow under a highway bridge.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River is an example of a natural straight stream. Note that there is no floodplain development--all of the stream energy is used to cut the canyon deeper, not to meander back and forth.
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
2001 view of the artificially straightened reach of Burd Run, near the University campus.
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
1999 aerial view of the artificially straightened reach of Burd Run, near the University campus.
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
2003 aerial view of the reconstructed meanders within the same reach of Burd Run.
Saskatchewan, Canada
Aerial view of a meandering river with numerous floodplain features.
Conodoguinet Creek, Cumberland County, PA
Aerial view of relatively uniform river meanders near Camp Hill, PA. Note this stream is also on the Cumberland Valley map on the classroom wall.
Conococheague Creek, Maryland
Aerial view of relatively uniform river meanders. Note this stream is also on the Cumberland Valley map on the classroom wall.
Yosemite National Park, California
The Merced River meanders through Yosemite Valley.
Blake Fork, southwestern Wisconsin
A high cut bank has formed on the outside of this meander bend, with point bar deposits on the inside of the bend.
Rattlesnake Creek, southwestern Wisconsin
A fresh gravel deposit has been left on the point bar in a recent flood event. Note that opposite the point bar, a cut bank can be seen.
Baja California Norte, Mexico
This meandering stream has recently migrate across the entire foreground of the slide. An abandoned channel can be seen in the lower right, with an extensive point bar now separating it from the present channel.
Anchorage, Alaska
A tidal meandering stream, showing a recent cutoff meander.
Platte River, Nebraska
Aerial view of the braided Platte River over central Nebraska. Note the many separating and reconnecting channels.
Platte River, eastern Nebraska
Ground view of the Platte River, a classic braided stream. Note the river is wide and shallow, with many sand bars. Sediment transport is primarily bed load.
Rio Antigua, northern Nicaragua
This stream has formed a braided pattern due to the extremely large sediment load provided by deeply weathered granite in a steep landscape undergoing deforestation.
Matanuska River, Alaska
Braided streams are common below active glaciers, due to the volume of coarse sediment load and the fluctuating discharge.
Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
A shallow braided stream with extensive sandbars. Note the local bedrock is Navajo sandstone, from which the bedload sediment is derived.
Death Valley, California
Alluvial fans are common at the base of these arid mountains.
Northern Rocky Mountains
Here alluvial fans coalesce at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Virgin River, Utah
A small delta has developed where the small, but high-energy intermittent tributary deposits its sediment load into the larger Virgin River.

Rattlesnake Creek, southwestern Wisconsin
The plowed cornfield in the center of this photo is the floodplain of Rattlesnake Creek, seen in the foreground. During floods, the entire field is covered with water, as shown in the next photo.

Rattlesnake Creek, southwestern Wisconsin
Identical view to the previous photo, following a rainstorm of several inches. Note turbulent flow in the foreground where the stream channel is located.
Grant River, southwestern Wisconsin
Natural levees are apparent along this stream. On the far bank, the levee is vegetated, while the plowed field is on the floodplain, slightly lower in elevation. In the foreground, the surveying instrument sits on the natural levee.
Pecatonica River, southwestern Wisconsin
This vantage is from a hill, overlooking the floodplain of the Pecatonica River, which flows along the treeline in the center of this image. The trees are growing along the natural levee, while the floodplain is plowed for planting. The standing water at the base of the hill is the poorly-drained backswamp.
Blake Fork, southwestern Wisconsin
A more subtle terrace can be seen here. The floodplain occupies only the low surface immediately adjacent to the stream channel. A higher surface--the terrace--can be seen at the periphery.
Kanab Arroyo, southern Utah
This stream is deeply incised into its alluvial deposits, having formed the terraces visible on either side of the channel, approximately 110 feet above the present channel. The incision (down-cutting) of the channel occurred between 1880 and 1885 in response to land use changes and intense rainfall events.