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Meander cutoff

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Title: Meander cutoff  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: River morphology, Avulsion (river), Hack's law, Braid bar, Mouth bar
Collection: Fluvial Landforms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Meander cutoff

Animation of the formation of an oxbow lake

A meander cutoff occurs when a meander bend in a river is breached by a chute channel that connects the two closest parts of the bend. This causes the flow to abandon the meander and to continue straight downslope. Cutoffs are a natural part of the evolution of a meandering river, and have also been used to artificially shorten the length of meandering rivers for navigation. The stagnant part of the river will sometimes form an Oxbow lake.

View along the former Mississippi River riverbed at the Tennessee/Arkansas state line near Reverie, Tennessee (2007)

In March, 1876, a cutoff formed suddenly across the neck of a meander in the Mississippi River near Reverie, Tennessee, shortening the river's course and leaving the town connected to Arkansas but across the new river channel from the rest of Tennessee.

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