What are the river processes of erosion, transportation, and deposition?

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Jun 2, 2016


Erosion creates material that is Transported and eventually Deposited by rivers.


Let's think for a minute about a river and how it works.

We can see as the river flows past leaves and twigs and other matter. And if we were to step into the river, we'd find sediment - the tiniest of tiny pieces of rock and soil - moving along in the water. Perhaps the river you are thinking about is muddy, which means there is a lot of sediment in the river. The movement of this sediment and material is Transportation .

Where does the material come from? From the riverbed as other sediment wears it down, freeing little pieces, bit by bit, to also flow down the river. And the river also eats into riverbanks, causing little collapses and big avalanches of material to drop into the water. The process of creating the material being transported is called Erosion.

And where does the material go? Sometimes the material settles for a little while only to be picked up again and then set down in a long cycle of transportations, only at some point to be dropped and never moved again. Or perhaps we're talking about mud and silt that flows far out into the ocean and eventually sinks to the bottom. This dropping of material that was created by erosion and moved by transportation is called Deposition.

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