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fluvial Rivers are the main geological instruments that shape the surface of the land, carrying pieces of the continents grain by grain, steadily to the sea. The term fluvial refers to deposits and landforms created by the action of flowing rivers and streams, and also the processes that occur in these rivers and streams. Fluvial systems slowly erode mountains and fill deep valleys with alluvium, and serve as passageways for people, aquatic fauna and flora, sediment, and dissolved elements from one place to another. River systems are not simply channels, but are intricately linked to associated floodplains and deltas, and they are affected by processes that occur throughout the entire drainage basin. Rivers transport water in a critical step in the hydrological cycle, and bring freshwater to even the driest places on Earth. Nearly every city and town in the world is built with a river flowing through it or near it, so vital is water for drinking, agriculture, and navigation. Rivers have controlled history, bringing life to some areas, but they are also prone to floods, sometimes bringing disaster from the same source that has fed populations for ages.
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