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USGS CMG InfoBank: Meandering Streams

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Comment: 10:58 - 11:37 (00:39)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 19. Running Water I: Rivers, Erosion and Deposition
Keywords: "Douglas D. Rhodes", meander, river, stream, energy, valley, discharge, "Mississippi River", "New Orleans", Memphis, equilibrium

Our transcription: We're not altogether clear why meandering occurs, why it's such a common phenomenon.
It probably has to do with the equalization of energy distribution as the flow moves down valley.
By meandering the amount of work done by a stream in some unit of discharge is more or less constant.
That seems to be a principle of nature to try to equalize the amount of work and minimize the amount of work at the same time it's being done.
The Mississippi is a prime example of a meandering river.
As the crow flies, the distance between New Orleans and Memphis is about 550 kilometers.
By boat, it's over 1,000.

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