Humans have always had a complex relationship with rivers, which both fostered and threatened civilizations throughout history.
Humans have always had a complex relationship with rivers, which both fostered and threatened civilizations throughout history. Just recall Osiris, the ancient Egyptian god of death and rebirth, who was inextricably linked with the annual flooding of the Nile.
Large floods will sometimes force a river to jump course and forge a new path across the landscape, in rare and catastrophic events known as river avulsions. These events can wipe out entire cities along the largest waterways, yet they also create the fertile deltas that have nurtured many societies.
A UC Santa Barbara-led team of scientists has just published the first global compilation of river avulsions in the journal Science(link is external). The study corroborates roughly a decade of theoretical and experimental work by the group, which fleshed out avulsions from what had been an understudied curiosity.
Read more at: University of California - Santa Barbara
Avulsions on the Pemali Delta, in Indonesia, fit into the backwater-scaled regime. It is one of the 113 examples in the team’s database. (Photo Credit: ROOKE & GANTI, MODIFIED ESA/COPERNICUS SENTINEL DATA)