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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 12-29-2011
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Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
True, but a river is not very much like a wheel. The latter is rigid while the former flows. With rigid rotation you will get tangential speed proportional to radius, but with a liquid, not necessarily.

A naive application of the Bernoulli principle puts the fast water inside, since the inside of turns is associated with low pressure, which is associated with high speed.

Erosion could indicate fast water on the outside, or it could indicate that water is better at eroding soil that it crashes into than soil that it rushes past, ie. On the high pressure side of the curve.

With all due respect, the development of sedimentation banks on the inside of the curves of channels is common knowledge and is explained by the fact that the water flow rate slows (relative to the overall flow rate), reducing agitation within the water column, allowing heavier sediments to settle out and at a progressively faster rate. As this sedimentation continues, to maintain the overall mass flow rate which must be constant from up-stream to down-stream in the channel on either side of a curve, water must shift to the outside of the curve, which is logical intuitively as well as mathematically. To change the direction of the flow, i.e. to curve the water-race, there must be a side force applied to the water flow--e.g. the resistence of the banks on the outside of the curve to resist/counter the water's linear inertia. This hydraulic pressure of course eventually dissolves the outside banks--even if they are solid rock--aided and abetted by the scouring action of the sediment suspended in the water itself, not unlike wet sand-blasting a surface such as a hull's bottom. The foregoing accounts for the meanders of rivers over time which one can easily observe from satellite photos of land forms which reveal the evolution of river beds.

For the mariner, the importance of the foregoing is that the deepest water will generally be on the outside of a curved channel tho' one is also likely to find that if "going with the flow", one is likely to get a faster ride than one migh like or, if opposing the flow, little at all.

Here Homer nods...
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."
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Old 12-29-2011
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For some reason the ONLY thing I can remember from high school geography classes is the method of formation of an ox-bow lake, which is the end result of meandering.
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Old 12-31-2011
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If you ever traveled a highly transited river ;like the Rhine, you might notice the variances that river captains follow. Every turn has it's own solution.This might have to do with the geological differences like soft sediments, hard sediments and rocks It may not be obvious but local knowledge and experience trumps a scholarly discussion every time. I've done the Rhine , Mackenzie and Fraser and I still am not qualified to call 'By the mark ,twain'
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Old 12-31-2011
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As Len has noted, there is no rule of thumb. Sediment does certainly deposit on the very inside of turns except when it doesn't. Learning to read the water is really the only last resort to take a shot at where the channel runs. Where commercial, every day traffic transits waterways, the dredging from their wheels forms the channel. In many places the ONLY way channels are kept open is by boats working in the area. That's why, all else failing, following one of them in is probably a good idea, especially when it comes to shifting inlets.
Alberg 35: With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
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