UIS Commission on Karst Hydrogeology and Speleogenesis
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Glossary

Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms

meander
1. Overdeveloped and selfexaggerated bend is a stream course either on the surface or underground, caused by more erosion on the outside than on the inside of a bend due to natural wash of the flow. Undergound meanders commonly originate within bedding plane guided elements of the phreas, where a single dominant tube has gathered drainage from the surrounding area. Following uplift and the onset of vadose conditions any stream that utilizes the meandering tube incises rapidly and the imposed meander course is entrenched into the underlying rocks. Such incision or entrenchment produces characteristic tall, narrow, twisting vadose canyons, to such an extent that the French describe them as 'meandres'. Canyons may meander more at their lower levels, due to enlargement during incision [9]. 2. A looplike bend in a river due to lateral erosion activities [16]. 3. In a cave, an arcuate curve in a channel formed by lateral shifting of a cave stream [10]. See ceiling meander; meander niche.