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Geomorphology, as it pertains to streams and rivers, is the study of stream channels, substrate, bank stability, flow characteristics and features or events influential in altering the river landscape. By examining the geomorphology of a particular stream, one would hope to gain insight into the cause and effect of processes such as erosion, bank failure, and sediment transport and deposition.

By measuring changes in channel width, formation of sandbars, water depth and velocity, geomorphology attempts to answer what forces are working to shape the stream corridor. By observing short and long term changes one hopes to begin to understand the relationship of isolated events (floods) as well as constant forces (swift rapids).

Using this knowledge allows the scientist and engineer to predict the progression of naturally occurring changes as well as impacts from man.