Sharp turns cause rivers to meander, migrate

Bends of the Mamore River in Bolivia. Credit: Planet Labs, Inc.

Feb. 7 (UPI) — Engineers and builders need to understand how rivers shift and meander over time, but new research suggests the conventional thinking on the behavior of bending rivers is flawed.

According to new research by geologists, current river migration models are unnecessarily complicated. The latest analysis, published this week in the journal Geology, showed that a river’s rate of migration is closely correlated with the sharpness of its bends.

When we look at the rivers we have studied, the sharper the bend, the tighter the bend, the faster it moves,” Zoltán Sylvester, a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, said in a news release. “It’s a simple relationship.”  Feb. 7, 2019

Featuring: Zoltan Sylvester, research scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences