Phenomena

Meandering Colorado

Sometimes the meandering of a river is best seen from above. Because of the way water moves to negotiate a bend in the river, any curvature of a river will get carved into a more extreme curve over time. Eventually the river’s course becomes so exaggerated that a loop can bend almost back on itself. At this point, the river often pinches off the bend and shortens its course, as the Colorado River did several thousand years ago with the abandoned meander labeled The Rincon near the bottom of this satellite photo. Left to its own devices, the Colorado would eventually cut away the loop west of Lake Powell, too. (Image credit: NASA/Expedition 47; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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