GCSE Geography: Rivers - Lower Course Features

23rd August 2017

GCSE Geography Revision - Made Easy!

Everything you need to know about Lower Course Features of Rivers!


There are very specific characteristics attributed to each part of a river's course. A river is split up unto 3 parts - upper course, middle course and lower course. Each is defined by particular variations of features such as discharge speed, the width and depth of the river bed, the landscape and many more.


The lower course of the river is where the it comes to meet the sea at the mouth, and starts at the relatively straightening path preceeding it, surrounded by flat land.


Features of the Lower Course of Rivers:


  • High Volume and Discharge - At the lower course of a river, the river is at its biggest volume capacity. The river bed is deeper and wider than it is at any other point of the river. This also naturally means that river discharge (the water flowing through a river's course) is much higher. The river is also surrounded by a flat landscape at this point in its course.


  • Large Floodplains - Surrounding the lower course of a river are the largest floodplains it will pass through. These plains are often very fertile land, due to the deposition of alluvium (sediment carried by the river). Alluvium can also be deposited by a river in such a way that it creates levees on either bank, which are arch-shaped river banks that rise above the level of the plain around the river. This further increases the river's volume capacity.


  • Depositional Landforms - At the end of a river's journey, the water speed is low as the river has lost its energy due to the increased volume of water, flat landscape and potential contention with tides from the sea at the river mouth. When a river loses speed it deposits any material it is carrying. At the mouth of a river, this can lead to the creation of landforms such as deltas. Deltas are formed when the sea cannot remove deposited material faster than a river deposits it. There are 3 types of delta: 'arcuate/fan', 'cuspate', and 'bird's foot'. Much more information and depth on deltas can be found by listening to our 'Deposition' song and reading the accompanying song notes, found under the GCSE Geography section of LearnThruMusic!


Make sure to read this through thoroughly, check out our music video on Lower Course Features of Rivers, remember its lyrics, and then take a shot at our test!


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