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River capture

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River capture

River capture

River capture or River Piracy phenomenon is a common sight in the youthful stage of a stream. In fact river capture is an important link in the cycle of the development of valleys. In this cycle, an active stream by receiving water of a slow-flowing river becomes more active.

Water divides are the land portions, which separate streams in the region of their origin. The water divides are sometimes very high. The summit line of the Andes Mountains acts as a water divide in South America. Sometimes the water divides are small.



The elbow of capture is an important landform for the identification of river-capture. The elbow of capture does mostly indicate the river-capture and for conforming the fact we must also find out the beheaded stream. Due to shortage of water, the valley of the beheaded stream becomes smaller than what it used to be. This stream now cuts a smaller valley in its previous large valley. Another mark of identification is the Air Gap, which is a waterless area between the elbow of capture and the lower course of the consequent. The head source of the beheaded stream is now away from the air-gap. The location of air-gap completes the identification of the phenomenon of river capture.



After the river capture, the water, which moved in other direction, begins to move in the direction of the capturing stream. Such rivers are called Inverted streams. In Karnatak state (India), the river Shravati is born on account of river-capture. One of the consequent streams draining the Western Ghats and flowing down towards the Arabian Sea is flowing towards east. The Bhagirathi, tributary of the Ganga is an example of river-capture.

Next: Shoreline Process










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