Geomorphic characterization and diversity of the fluvial systems of the Gangetic Plains

R. Sinha, Vikrant Jain, G. Prasad Babu, S. Ghosh

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    92 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The extensive Gangetic alluvial plains are drained by rivers which differ strongly in terms of hydrological and sediment transport characteristics. These differences are manifested in the geomorphic diversity of the plains. The Western Gangetic Plains (WGP) are marked by a degradational topography with incised channels and extensive badland development in some parts, while the Eastern Gangetic Plains (EGP) are characterized by shallow, aggrading channels with frequent avulsions and extensive flooding. We interpret such geomorphic diversity in terms of differences in stream power and sediment supply from the catchment areas. The rivers draining the western plains are marked by higher stream power and lower sediment yield that result in degradation. In comparison, the rivers draining the eastern Gangetic Plains have lower stream power and higher sediment yield that result in aggradation. The variation of stream power, a function of channel slope and high sediment yield, is attributed to differences in rainfall and rate of uplift in the hinterland. It is suggested that such differences have resulted in a marked geomorphic diversity across the plains. It is also suggested that such diversity has existed for a fairly long time because of climatic and tectonic variance.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-225
    Number of pages19
    JournalGeomorphology
    Volume70
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Keywords

    • Gangetic Plains
    • alluvial plains
    • geomorphology
    • stream power

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