Features formed in Upper Course

V-shaped Valley:

This is formed as a result of vertical erosion of a river, which is deepened by vertical corrosion, and widened by weathering and mass movement.


This is formed especially when a river follows a line of weakness such as a fault or down cutting with little or no valley widening.


A canyon is a large, steep-sided, narrow bottomed gorge which river usually runs in the bottom. Canyons are formed by down cutting in arid or semi-arid regions.

River Capture:

The formation of river capture takes place when a river acquires the headstream of another river and thus enlarges its own drainage area at the expense of the other. In this process, the weak rivers are deprived of their tributaries thereby losing part of their basins.

River capture is also known as river piracy or river beheading.


This feature is produced when a river course is interrupted by an abrupt, steep drop. A waterfall can also be formed due to an outcrop of resistant rock across a river course.


Is a hollow in the rock bed of a stream abraded by boulders as they are swirled round by eddies. A pothole can also develop when a fast flowing river erodes the bedrock, which subsequently creates a circular depression that gradually deepens to form a pothole.

Rapids & Cataracts:

These are features developed as a result of uneven resistance of hard and soft rocks caused by a river.

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