Two. Key Concepts in River Geomorphology

  1. Kirstie A. Fryirs1 and
  2. Gary J. Brierley2

Published Online: 28 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118305454.ch2

Geomorphic Analysis of River Systems: An Approach to Reading the Landscape

Geomorphic Analysis of River Systems: An Approach to Reading the Landscape

How to Cite

Fryirs, K. A. and Brierley, G. J. (2012) Key Concepts in River Geomorphology, in Geomorphic Analysis of River Systems: An Approach to Reading the Landscape, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118305454.ch2

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia

  2. 2

    School of Environment, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2012
  2. Published Print: 16 NOV 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405192750

Online ISBN: 9781118305454

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Keywords:

  • catchment boundary conditions;
  • geomorphic analysis;
  • landscape adjustments;
  • river geomorphology;
  • river systems;
  • spatial concept;
  • temporal concept

Summary

This chapter outlines a range of concepts and theories about how a river landscape looks, adjusts and evolves. These spatial and temporal concepts build upon each other helping us to frame catchment-scale, system-specific applications that assess geomorphic responses to human disturbance in relation to natural variability. This chapter first reviews spatial considerations. This starts with an overview of nested hierarchical approaches to analysis of river systems. Imposed and flux boundary conditions that control the range of river character and behaviour are defined and differentiated. Second, temporal concepts that are used to characterize river systems are appraised. This starts with a synthesis of geologic (cyclic), geomorphic (graded) and engineering (steady-state) timescales. Equilibrium notions are used to describe geomorphic adjustments around a mean (characteristic) state. Magnitude-frequency relations highlight how geomorphic work and geomorphic effectiveness vary for disturbance events of differing size and recurrence.