Hostname: page-component-f7d5f74f5-g4btn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-10-05T01:42:15.856Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

On the origin of meandering and braiding in alluvial streams

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2006

Frank Engelund
Institute of Hydrodynamics and Hydraulic Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Ove Skovgaard
Institute of Hydrodynamics and Hydraulic Engineering, Technical University of Denmark


The paper describes a hydrodynamic stability analysis of the flow in an alluvial channel in which dunes have developed along the bed. The purpose is to develop a mathematical model describing the three-dimensional flow leading to instability of an originally straight channel. The model offers an explanation of the fact that some channels tend to meander, others to braid.

Research Article
© 1973 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Ackers, P. & Charlton, F. G. 1970 The slope and resistance of meandering channels. Proc. Inst. Civ. Engrs Paper, no. 7362, 349370.Google Scholar
Blench, T. 1966 Mobile-Bed Fluviology. University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Callander, R. A. 1969 Instability and river channels. J. Fluid Mech. 36, 465480.Google Scholar
Einstein, H. A. & Sren, H. W. 1964 A study of meandering in straight alluvial channels. J. Geophys. Res. 69, 52395247.Google Scholar
Engelund, F. 1967 Hydraulic resistance of alluvial streams. Discussion, J. Hyd. Div. A.S.C.E. 93, no. HY4, 287296.Google Scholar
Engelund, F. 1970 Instability of erodible beds. J. Fluid Mech. 42, 225244.Google Scholar
Engelund, F. & Fredsbe, J. 1971 Three-dimensional stability analysis of open channel flow over erodible bed. Nordic Hydrology, 2, 93108.Google Scholar
Engelund, F. & Hansen, E. 1967 A Monograph on Sediment Transport in Alluvial Streams. Copenhagen: Danish Technical Press.
Langbein, W. B. & Leopold, L. B. 1966 River meanders - theory of minimum variance. U.S. Geological Suwey, Professional Paper, 422-H.Google Scholar
Leopold, L. B. & Wolman, M. G. 1957 River channel patterns: braided, meandering and straight. U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper, 282-B.Google Scholar
Reynolds, A. J. 1965 Waves on the erodible bed of an open channel. J. Fluid Mech. 22, 113133.Google Scholar
Shen, H. W. & Komura, S. 1968 Meandering tendencies in straight alluvial channels. J. Hyd. Div. A.S.C.E. 94, no. HY4, 9971016.Google Scholar
Villadsen, J. V. & Stewart, W. E. 1967 Solution of boundary-value problems by orthogonal collocation. Chem. Emgng Sci. 22, 14831501.Google Scholar