Make sure you know what all these terms mean.  You will be expected to use them in your examination answers and coursework. 

Source  the starting point of a river

Mouth where a river enters the sea or lake

Tributaries smaller rivers which flow into a larger river

Confluence the point where two rivers meet

Drainage Basin the area of land drained by a single river

Watershed the imaginary line which surrounds a drainage basin

Hydrological Cycle (also called the Water Cycle)  the cycle of water between the air, land and sea

Channel the feature in which the river flows

Hydraulic Action (or Hydraulic Power)  a process of coastal and river erosion caused by the force of water wearing away the earths surface

Corrasion (or Abrasion) a process of river erosion where a river transport rocks and boulders which knock against the bottom and sides of the river channel, eroding both the channel and the transported material itself.  Most erosion occurs in times of flood. (Think of a scrape or abrasion on your knee)

Corrosion the breakdown of rocks by chemical action e.g. the solution of minerals e.g. salt.

Attrition the process of erosion where the load transported knocks and rubs against each other thus making the load size smaller.

V-Shaped Valley a river valley in the upper course with steep and high slopes.

Interlocking Spurs spurs of highland which overlap in the upper course of the valley.  They are caused by river erosion  as the river cuts vertically down.

Gorge of Recession steep sided narrow valley created by a waterfall or river retreat.

Meander  bend in the middle and lower course of the river (can result in the formation of ox bow lakes)

River Cliff the outside bend of a meander the cliff is steep as this is where erosion has taken place.

Slip – off – slope the gentle slope on the inside of the meander where depostion has taken place.

Traction boulders rolling along the river bed causing erosion to the river channel.

Saltation  small particles ‘jumping’ along the river bed

Suspension small particles of clay, silt carried along in the river. (Particles suspended in water)

Solution a form of chemical weathering

Alluvium river depositied material in the form of sand and silt.  Usually during a flood or at a delta.

Ox-Bow Lake Semi circular lake formed by sealing off a meander bend.

Meander Scar a dried up ox bow lake

Delta often triangular shaped flat land jutting out into the sea at the mouth of a river.

Estuary the mouth of a river where the channel is wide and tidal.  There is only one river channel in an estuary compared with lost in a delta.

Distributaries small channels on a delta where the main channel has dried up.

Whinstone a hard resistant igneous rock

Discharge the amount of water flowing in a river per second

Velocity the speed of a river’s flow measured in cumecs or metres cubed per second

Volume  the capacity of a river.

Flood Hydrograph a graph showing how a river responds to different rainfall levels in the drainage basin.

Rising Limb (Hydrograph) part of the flood hydrograph that shows the rivers rising discharge

Falling Limb (Hydrograph) part of the graph showing how after a storm the rivers discharge falls.

Lag Time the difference in time between the peak of rainfall and the peak of discharge in a river.

Load material carried by a river.


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