Braided Stream Channels

Braided streams consist of two or more adjacent but interconnected channels separated by bars or islands, commonly known as braid bars. Braided streams have constantly shifting channels, which move as the bars are eroded and redeposited during large fluctuations in discharge. Most braided streams have highly variable discharge in different seasons, and they carry more load than meandering streams.

Braided streams tend to be wider and shallower, and have steeper gradients than streams with undivided channels. Several factors seem to play significant roles in determining whether a stream channel becomes braided. First, the backs of the stream must be easily erodible, letting the channels migrate and contributing bedload to the channel. second, the load must be large, as all braided streams carry high-sediment loads. Third, braided streams are characterized by rapid changes in discharge. Braided streams are common in areas such as on glacial outwash plains, where the fluctuation in discharge is large, there is abundant sediment supply, and the river banks are easily erodible.

Continue reading here: Dynamics Of Stream Flow

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