Avulsion Channel

  • Esther StouthamerEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-9213-9_468-1


Avulsion is the abandonment of a part or the whole of a channel belt in favor of a new course (Allen 1965). An avulsion channel is the new channel that results from avulsion.



Avulsion is a key process in the evolution of subaerial fans, river floodplains, and deltas. Avulsion occurs if sediment load and sediment-carrying capacity of two bifurcated channels are not in proportion. Erosion or deposition will occur in one or both channels thereby changing their discharges, slopes, and/or cross sections and consequently changing their capacities. This will continue until either sediment-carrying capacities of both channels equal their loads or until one channel is abandoned. If avulsion takes place, it depends on the nature of sediment partitioning at the bifurcation of both channels and the ability of both channels to change their sediment-carrying capacity (Slingerland and Smith 2004; Kleinhans et al. 2008).

For a review on the avulsion...


Yellow River Delta Natural Levee Abandoned Channel Delta Lobe Overbank Deposit 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands