Latest Issue of Science News


News

Moderate flows help carve rivers

By
12:54pm, October 1, 2002

Measurements of erosion in a rocky river channel in Taiwan suggest that the day-to-day flow of water accounts for more rock wear there than occasional catastrophic floods do. The findings, which are contrary to current views, could revise scientists' ideas of how rivers shape Earth's surface.

In its 58-kilometer rush to the Pacific, the LiWu River picks up about 11 million tons of sediment each year. That material boosts the river's scouring power, says Rudy L. Slingerland, a geologist at Pennsylvania State University in State College. He and his colleagues measured rates of erosion at more than 2,100 points across a short stretch of the rocky channel. Between December 2000 and December 2001, the river chewed down about 6 millimeters through quartzite rocks and about 2 mm through a tough type of rock known as schist.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from this issue of Science News

[title_1]