How are Oxbow Lakes Formed - What is Oxbow Lake?

By Ritika Pant|Updated : July 27th, 2022

Ox Bow Lake formation takes place through various natural processes. These are tiny lakes in an abandoned river channel with curves and bends. Curved bends or U-shaped structures called meanders in a river trim off from the primary river flow, forming a lake. Ox Bow Lake formation takes place through various natural processes.

These are tiny lakes in an abandoned river channel with curves and bends. Curved bends or U-shaped structures called meanders in a river trim off from the primary river flow, forming a lake. For instance, Kanwar lake is the biggest oxbow lake in Asia and India. It is a freshwater lake situated in the Begusarai district in Bihar. These lakes are usually formed in a flat, low-lying plain near where the river drains into another water body.

Formation of Oxbow Lakes

Rivers containing curves and twists get differently carved via the surrounding topography. Due to sedimentation and continuous erosion along the sides of the meanders, the end loop of the meander comes nearer and nearer. 

Eventually, the meander spirals cut off the river, forming an oxbow lake. If only one loop gets cut off, the lake becomes crescent-shaped, whereas if more than one loop gets cut off, the lake becomes bending or winding.

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FAQs on Ox Bow Lake Formation

  • Ox Bow Lake Formation occurs when there is a very high release of water; for example, in case of a flood, the river cuts across the neck, taking a new, straighter, and quicker route. The deposition cut off the initial meander, leaving a horseshoe-shaped oxbow lake.

  • The formation of Ox-Bow Lake takes place alongside the meanders when the end of the loop comes closer and closer because of continued deposition and erosion. After a while, the circles of a river cut off from the main river forming a lake called oxbow lake.

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