I was looking at the Kura river in Google Maps satellite mode and I saw these U-shaped bodies of water:


There are other U-shaped bodies of water too:

40.615881° N, 47.205031° E

40.101139° N, 47.963825° E

And so many others.

Why are these U-shaped bodies of water frequent in the region?


1 Answer 1


They look like oxbow lakes. Some meander scars (crescent-shaped, but dry) are also visible. Here is an excerpt of the "OXBOW" entry in Encyclopedia of Geomorphology (2013):

An abandoned meander (see MEANDERING) loop along an alluvial river. It is the most common type of lake of fluvial origin. As a logical consequence of the lateral shifting and the general downstream migration of meanders, it develops from the interplay of channel erosion and accumulation separated in space. Oxbows are produced by meander cutoffs [...] The American name emphasizes the crescent shape, while in many other languages an oxbow is called a ‘dead arm’ (e.g. in French: bras mort). [...] Meander scars are oxbows completely filled up with mineral and organic matter. They remain discernible in the landscape for a long time. Classic examples are found along several major rivers of the world, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the large rivers of Siberia.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. Sounds you're right. I also looked at Mississippi river and saw some of the same lakes there. But I think Kura river has more of them. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ @SnackExchange A lot also depends on how heavily altered a landscape is by humans. I'm not sure about the USA, but in Western Europe, all major rivers have been heavily altered by humans who wanted shorter shipping routes and use the land near the river. $\endgroup$
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 6:58
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    $\begingroup$ In Australia, it's called a billabong, I believe from an Aboriginal word. They're mostly stagnant except during the rainy season. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ @CristobolPolychronopolis All this time I thought a billabong was just a place for a swagman to spring into. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ As long as he starts out camped beside it, waiting for his billy to boil. (Under a coolibah tree.) $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 18:36

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