The winding of a river back and forth within its banks. Erosional activity of moving water creates meanders and the precise number of switch backs from left to right looking downstream depends upon the width of the river, the speed of the current and the substrate over which the river flows (see: Luna Leopold’s A View of the River for an excellent analysis of the physics of meanderings). In very large rivers, ox bow lakes are a common feature of the landscape due to severe meandering and periodic floods that cut off the meander with deposits of soil between the loops of river, creating a standing body of water in the process. In most freestone rivers, meanders are common, while in limestone situations, meanders are less predicable and may not be a regular feature, due to slow currents and low volumes of water.

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