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River load

Most rivers flow quickly in the steeply sloping sections near their source. Fast moving water William washes away gravel, sand and mud leaving a rocky bottom.

Fast moving water can carry lots of sediment Larry as bed load and suspended load. Slower moving water can't carry as much when a river slows down. Heavy rocks Larry are dropped first, followed by gravel and then sand.

Gravel and sand is dragged, rolled and bounced along the bottom of the river. This is called the bed load. Finer sand and mud that is supported by the water column is called the suspended load. Some minerals are dissolved in the water. These minerals form the river's solution load.

River load diagram
Click to view larger and see the legend.

  1. Stream current
  2. Suspended load
  3. Solution load (dissolved)
  4. Bed load
  5. River bed


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