Most rivers begin their life in hills where rain falls. TSome of this rain soaks into the ground and the rest runs over the surface, collects in pools, then trickles downhill with the force of gravity. Small streams are formed, which get bigger as they collect more water and join up with other streams. The ever-increasing stream wears away the ground as it goes, carving out valleys and shaping the landscape. The speed of the flowing water and the hardness of the ground have an effect on the shape created. The ‘wearing away’ is called erosion.
Where the rain has soaked through the land, it will collect when it reaches harder or less porus rocks, and try to find a way down, appearing as springs
A mountain stream is sometimes called a youthful river and it is fast flowing, making deep valleys with steep sides. Once it begins to cut a valley it is trapped in it and will continue to carve out the same valley for perhaps thousands of years. As it tumbles downhill, the stream collects and carries rocks, stones and pebbles along with it. Progressing on its journey towards the sea, it collects more and more water until it is big enough to be called a river. Eventually, the land becomes flatter and the water flow slows down, causing the river to drop its stones and pebbles onto the river bed. This is called deposition. As an ‘old river’ meanders slowly through flat land (a bend in a river is called a meander), it is carrying only mud.
Starting a River
The River Wey Trust: F
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