Fascinating question! The answer to all your
questions is yes! But let's break them down
A river is a continuous flow of water at
Earth's surface, driven by gravity. A small
creek flowing down the mountains over Santa
Barbara and the Amazon River are both rivers.
Rivers help sculpt and shape Earth's surface by
eroding, transporting, and depositing
sediment (soil, rocks, and other debris).
Because rivers flow downhill due to gravity, the
steeper the hill, the greater the gravitational
energy to drive water down the river. That means
that the fastest moving rivers are usually on
the steepest slopes. The steeper the slope,
the easier it is for the water to break down
the rocks and cause high amounts of erosion.
Therefore, fast moving rivers respond to their
environment by causing increased amounts of
erosion and sediment transportation to lower parts
of the river. Likewise, if the slope
changes, the river speed will change.
Based on the above, rivers change through time
depending on their environment. If the slope
changes, the river speed will change. If the
material the river is flowing over changes (as in
loose sediment, rocks, vegetation, etc.), that can
also cause changes in flow speed, amount of
erosion, and amount of sediment
transportation. It is also common for rivers
to flow into another stream, creating a larger
river. This is dependent on how many higher
streams are feeding into your river, and how many
lower rivers your river will eventually flow
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