Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Drainage Pattern

  • Sarah A. DrummondEmail author
  • Gino Erkeling
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_119


“The configuration or arrangement, in plan view, of the stream courses in an area, including gullies or first-order areas of channelized flow, tributaries, and main streams” (Schoeneberger and Wysocki 2008).



Drainage patterns are determined by regional geology and reflect control by structures, regional slope, and bedrock erosional characteristics. Combinations of these geologic controls lead to the formation of identifiable patterns. The significance of drainage patterns in determining regional geologic history has been known for over a century. Thus there have been many different drainage patterns documented and described, each with specific geologic and climatic implications. Because some of these patterns described below are referred to by different names depending on the author, decade, or continent, where a pattern has multiple names, they are listed in the description. Drainage patterns are also beginning to be...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural and Behavioral SciencesPellissippi State and Technical Community CollegeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Institut für PlanetologieWestfälische Wilhelms-UniversitätMünsterGermany