Drainage Pattern – Superimposed, Antecedent, Consequent Types of Drainage Pattern

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

A drainage pattern is created over time by stream erosion, revealing characteristics of the region, for example, the type of rocks or geological structures in the landscape. The drainage pattern is formed by lakes, streams, and rivers in a specific drainage basin. Drainage is a well-defined channel constructed to direct the flow of water. A network of these channels is called a drainage system. There are various types of drainage patterns such as trellis drainage, parallels drainage, dendritic drainage, rectangular drainage, and deranged drainage.

A myriad of factors governs the drainage pattern. Some of them are geological structure, the topography of the land, velocity of water, volume of water, etc. Drainage channels are easier to develop on surfaces that are least resistant to erosion and have an enhanced runoff. Gain complete cognizance of the drainage pattern such as the definition, meaning, and other details.

Definition Of Drainage Pattern

The drainage pattern is formed by the water bodies such as streams and lakes. The drainage patterns indicate the type of topography and gradient of the land. It is influenced by geographical structure, the slope of the land, the velocity of water, the amount of volume of water, etc. The drainage patterns are segregated into two main types.

  • Concordant Drainage Pattern
  • Discordant Drainage Pattern

Types of Drainage Patterns

There are numerous types of drainage patterns that are influenced by various factors, which leads to their segregation into different types. The discordant and concordant types of drainage patterns differ based on whether the topology of the drainage pattern correlates to the topology of the area.

Discordant Drainage Pattern

The discordant drainage pattern does not correlate and is not influenced by the topology and geology of the area. The water courses that follow the discordant drainage pattern follow the initial path even after the alterations witnessed in the topography. It is further segregated into two parts which are Antecedent drainage and superimposed drainage.

Antecedent Drainage

  • The segment of the river slope is elevated but the river follows the initial slope.
  • It cuts the elevated portions or parts that cut through the elevated part, called vertical erosion, or vertical down cutting.
  • It is renowned as “inconsequent drainage”.
  • Examples- Indus, Sutlej, Himalayan, Brahmaputra rivers

Superimposed Drainage

  • It is renowned to be as “superinduced drainage“, and “epigenetic drainage.”
  • It is erosive in action, cuts the rocks, and follows its initial slope.
  • Examples- Damodar, Subarnarekha, Chambal, Banas etc.

Concordant Drainage Patterns

In concordant drainage patterns, the path of the river is highly influenced by the slope of the river and its topography. It is segregated into two types of drainage patterns such as consequent drainage pattern, and subsequent pattern.

The consequent system is developed by the general direction of the slope. The subsequent river system is formed after the flow of the river on that path.

Trellis Drainage

The channels look similar to garden trellis. It develops in areas where the sedimentary rocks have been tilted or folded and then eroded. For example, the Appalachian Mountains of North America.

Parallels Drainage Patterns

It develops in areas that have elongated, similar landforms, and similar to outcropping-resistant rock bands.

The pattern is caused due to steep slopes with a certain degree of relief. The steep slopes make the streams straight and swift, with minimal tributaries.

Dendritic Drainage

It is perhaps the most well-known Drainage Pattern. The pattern resembles the branching of tree roots.

Only develops in regions underlain by homogenous material, which means the geology beneath the stream has no specific structure and is weathering resistant. There is no control over the direction of erosion.

Rectangular Drainage Pattern

  • They are found in areas that have undergone faulting. The surface has minimal topography and a combination of bedding planes, faults, or fractures that forms a rectangular pattern.
  • Streams follow the least resistant path, making them prominent in locations where the surface rocks are weak.

Deranged Drainage

They are formed from the disruption of a prior Drainage Pattern. For instance, a dendritic pattern can be disrupted due to external reasons, leading to the formation of a deranged pattern. Example- Canadian shield

Radial Drainage Patterns

It forms around a central elevated location. The pattern appears similar to Volcanoes. Laccoliths and domes are geological structures that exhibit perfect radial Drainage Patterns.

Angular Drainage

They are developed in reassigns where faults and bedrock joints intersect at an extremely acute angle. The angles are comparatively more acute than rectangular Drainage Patterns.

Centripetal Drainage

  • This pattern is the opposite of the radial Drainage Pattern. It flows towards a central depression.
  • It is prominent in southwestern and western areas of the United States as the basins show internal drainage systems.

The drainage patterns are categorized based on texture and form. Geologists, hydrologists, and other professionals take a deep interest in studying these patterns as it gives us vital information about the land.

Drainage Pattern Notes

The candidates preparing for the IAS exam must be well acquainted with the pivotal topics to prepare well for the exam. You can click on the link provided here to get an in-depth cognizance of the topic drainage pattern.

Drainage Pattern PDF

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