RIVERS - Upper Course

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  CHARACTERISTICS OF THE UPPER COURSE OF THE RIVER -   The river is fast flowing -   Has steep gradient -   Cross section of valley is a narrow V-shape -   Vertical erosion (downcutting) is dominant FEATURES FORMED IN THE UPPER COURSE OF THE RIVER (1)   Interlocking Spurs  –  Spurs are ridges of hard rock which descend into the river valley and which the river is forced to wind around as it cannot erode the hard rock. Spurs ‘interlock’ when they alternate on either side of t he river.   (2)   Potholes  –  These are circular depressions cut into the river bed by swirling (or eddying) action of the river water. Swirling takes place due to unevenness of the river bed or may occur as the water moves over an object (rock). Potholes may range in size from a few centimetres to several metres and tend to occur more in turbulent rivers.   (3)   Waterfalls  –  A steep fall of the river water due to a sudden increase in the gradient.   They may form due to several reasons: (a)   Where a hard rock layer (often a sill or dyke) is followed by a soft rock layer downstream. Soft rock is eroded faster than the hard rock, steepening the river bed (i)   Hard rock is horizontal BEFORE AFTER
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