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Floodplain

  • By: Benjamin Kofi Nyarko
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

A floodplain is one of the ubiquitous fluvial features found along major rivers. It is a wide, flat plain of alluvium on either side of a river extending to the base of a valley that is seasonally inundated. Inundation may originate from overbank flow due to the high amount of rainfall or spillage from dams (see Amazon and White Volta photos). Geomorphologically, actively inundated areas are the composite fringing floodplains of rivers located near the main channel.

A floodplain is a complex assemblage of landforms (Figure 1) including channel features such as bars; channel edge features such as banks, benches, knickpoints, and levees; and features such as old channels (oxbow lakes), old levees, back swamps, and crevasse splays. The existence, development, and spatial structure of a ...

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