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Braided river

A Braided River channel consists of a network of small channels[?] separated by small islands called braid bars.

The channels and braid bars are usually highly mobile, with the river layout often changing significantly during flood events. Channels move sideways via differential velocity: On the outside of a curve, deeper, swift water picks up sediment (usually gravel or larger stones), which is re-deposited in slow-moving water on the inside of a bend.

The braided channels may flow within an area defined by relatively stable banks or may occupy an entire valley floor. The Rakaia river in Canterbury, New Zealand has cut a channel 100 metres deep into the surrounding plains.

Conditions which promote braided channel formation are:

  • An abundant supply of sediment
  • Rapid and frequent variations in water discharge
  • Erodable banks

Extensive braided river systems are found in only a few regions world-wide:

All the above regions contain young, eroding mountains.

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