The Lower Mississippi River and the Coriolis Force

by Brien R. Winkley,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering


Weather patterns and large bodies of water respond to the forces generated by the earth's rotation. A large north-south flowing river, such as the Lower Mississippi River, meandering through an erodible alluvium should develop measurable bendway geometry significantly different in right-hand bends than in left-hand bends. Survey data from the 1911-15 river, prior to stabilization and flood control efforts and the 1973-75 river, surveyed following one of the highest floods of record, were compared. Results of a geometrical analysis of river bends, indicate that the Coriolis force does have a pronounced affect on channel geometry.

Subject Headings: River bank stabilization | Channel bends | Geometrics | Meandering rivers and streams | Floods | Rotation | Rivers and streams | Mississippi River

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