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Braided Streams

When glacial ice melts, the water moves away from the glacial snout in fast flowing streams and rivers. The water transports vast quantities of sediment and larger debris. If the sediment load is very large in relation to the velocity of the stream, the more coarse material may start to block the stream, choking it and forcing it to constantly change it's course. The stream starts to diverge, splitting into numerous segments which split and join repeatedly. The small islands formed within the stream are called eyots.

Braided streams are typically shallow and wide, surrounded by poorly sorted rock debris.

Braided Stream
Braided stream carrying run-off from the Mer de Glace, France.
Click on the image for a larger view.

In the picture above, the stream is flowing away from the camera. On the right of the picture is a wide area of poorly sorted rock debris brought down from the glacier, and in the centre is a small island, or eyot. The water is grey in colour due to its load of rock flour produced from the grey granite bedrock.

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