GCSE Rivers: Transportation

5th May 2017

New GCSE Geography Syllabus
River Processes - Transport - Key Information
To help you do the very best in your geography tests we’re going to go through the main points you need to be revising for understanding the transport processes in rivers.
As a river flows downstream it carries material, such as sediment and sand. Like the four types of erosion, there are four ways material is transported.
The four transport processes in a river are:
● Solution
● Saltation
● Suspension
● Traction
Solution is where the water carries materials which have dissolved in it’s solution. Suspension is when very small and light material is held in the river flow and carried along in the water. It’s called saltation when rocks are rolled along the riverbed by the current. These will be small rocks, like pebbles and small stones. Traction is when large boulders and large rocks are pushed along the riverbed by the river’s current. All these transport processes need energy which is generated by the river’s flow. The amount of energy in the river varies between the source and the mouth.
● At the source, the very beginning of the river, energy levels are high which means the largest boulders and rocks can be transported through traction. The reason energy levels are high is because of the river’s steep, v-shaped valley which is even more powerful during flooding.
● In contrast, at the mouth of the river energy levels drop as the river joins another body of water, such as the sea or a lake. With energy levels low only much smaller material can be transported.
The amount of energy in a river varies along its whole course and means that in different areas some transport processes are more common than others.
All the information we’ve covered here is also in our transport song which will help you with memorising all these facts. Make sure you check it out!


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