What are the Types of Drainage Patterns?

A drainage pattern is a pattern made over time by stream erosion that gives information about the types of rocks and geologic features in an area of the terrain that is drained by streams. The pattern created by streams, rivers, and lakes in a specific drainage basin is known as the drainage pattern. They are controlled by the topography of the ground, the gradient of the land, and whether a certain area is dominated by hard or soft rocks.

Types of Drainage Patterns

Based on their texture and shape, drainage patterns or nets are categorized. The topography and underlying geology of the area influence how they develop in shape or pattern. Where there is more surface runoff and the soils are more prone to erosion, drainage channels might form. The various drainage patterns include the following:

  • Dendritic drainage pattern
  • Parallel drainage pattern
  • Trellis drainage pattern
  • Rectangular drainage pattern
  • Radial drainage pattern
  • Centripetal drainage pattern
  • Deranged drainage pattern
  • Annular drainage pattern
  • Angular drainage patterns

In regions where the rock (or unconsolidated material) beneath the stream has no special fabric or structure and can be eroded equally quickly in all directions, dendritic patterns, by far the most prevalent type develop. Where sedimentary rocks have been bent or inclined and then eroded to varying degrees depending on their strength, trellis drainage patterns generally occur. In regions with limited topography and a network of bedding planes, fractures, or faults that are rectangular, patterns called rectangles occur.

A network of rivers known as a parallel drainage system is brought on by steep slopes with some relief. The streams radiate outward from a central high point in a radial drainage system. The main difference between the two drainage systems is that the radial drainage system flows out while the centripetal drainage system flows in. 

When there is no discernible pattern to the rivers and lakes in drainage basins, the drainage system is said to be disordered. Wherever bedrock joints and faults connect at more acute angles than rectangular drainage patterns, angular drainage patterns are formed.

Related Questions:-


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  • The most frequent type is a dendritic drainage pattern, which resembles the branching structure of tree roots. It grows in areas with uniform subsurface materials.

  • The spatial interactions between streams or rivers that make up drainage patterns or arrangements may be affected in their erosion by differences in slope, rock resistance, structure, and geologic history of a region.

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