What is a V Shaped Valley?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Rivers carve V-shaped valleys in their youth. The erosive activity of rivers forms them, and their shapes are the letter V of the English alphabet. They are related to canyons, ravines, etc. Mountains and hills often have valleys that are shaped like a V. These valleys are formed in the upper reaches by swift-moving rivers that have steep falls. The V-shaped valley is first cut by flowing rivers and streams.

V Shaped Valley Definition

The Grand Canyon in the Southwest of the United States illustrates a V-shaped valley. The Colorado River carved a V-shaped canyon with steep sides out of the Colorado Plateau’s rock after millions of years of erosion. This canyon is now known as the Grand Canyon.

The steep sides and the narrow floor look like the letter “V” from a distance. That is why it is called a V-shaped valley. The above layers continuously arose due to erosion over time. Vertical erosion predominates over lateral erosion in the higher river stages.

V Shaped Valley Formation

  • Rivers carry material faster from the bottom of the bed than from the banks despite moving quickly downhill. The action in question is called downcutting.
  • A cake cut with a knife can better illustrate the point.
  • The water of the River contains rocks and stones on its upper course.
  • Water and the pounding of boulders and stones carve out the valley of the riverbed.
  • The valley deepens and widens over time.
  • Depending on how quickly the River falls, the valley’s width and steepness on the sides will change.
  • The river’s created valley is steeper and deeper than the river itself.


What is a V-shaped Valley?

The V-shaped Valley Rivers that are known to carve valleys in the shape of a V in their youthful stage. Rivers’ erosive activity creates them, and Fast-flowing rivers with steep falls create these valleys in the upper reaches. The force of water and the crushing of rocks carve out the riverbed valley. The River’s fall and descending speed determine the sides’ steepness and the valley floor’s width.

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