2.2 The Rhine: a river in Europe

2.2 The Rhine: a river in Europe
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Slide 1: Tekstslide
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2.2 The Rhine: a river in Europe

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Drainage basin
  • From the source in the Alps to the mouth in The Netherlands;
  • 1,230 kilometres long;
  • The Rhine is a mixed river: Mostly rainfall water in winter and glacial water in summer.
  • The discharge is the amount of water that flows by a certain place in m3/s.

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A cross section of the river Rhine

The gradient decreases when the river flows from the source to the mouth.

The source of the river is in the Swiss Alps. This part is the upper course of the river.
Most of the middle course lies in Germany.
The lower course is in the Netherlands where it flows into the North Sea via a delta.
Here you find processes like weathering, erosion and transportation.
The most important process in the delta is sedimentation.

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Erosion, weathering, sedimentation


  • Process of wearing away rock, soil or other solid materials. Always during transportation


  • Process in which rocks are broken down. Always on a specifc location


  • Process of deposition (leaving behind materials).

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Meanders are produced when water in the stream channel erodes the sediments of an outer bend of a streambank and deposits this and other sediment on subsequent inner bends downstream.

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Upper, Middle and Lower course

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Uses of the Rhine
Brick factories

Navigable from Rotterdam to Basel

Drinking water
Water treatment plants

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Groynes help to limit river bank erosion and to keep the water depth in the middle of the river constant and accessible for ships.

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Calculating fall and drop of river
  • The fall = The difference in height between two places along a river.
  • The drop = The fall of the river per kilometre.
  • The difference in height between Spijk (where the Rhine enters the Netherlands) and Hoek of Holland (where it flows into the sea) is 12 metres. Between these two places the river Rhine has a length of 150 kilometres.
  • What is the fall?
  • Calculate the drop of the river.


Fall =  12 metres.

Drop = 12 m / 150 km= 0.08 m/km.

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