What Is a River Cliff?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 1, 2020 11:34:05 PM ET

River cliffs are also known as cut banks or river-cut cliffs. A river cliff is formed on the outer edge of a stream bend when a fast-flowing water source erodes the surface. River cliffs are constantly undergoing erosion.

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River cliffs are found along meandering and mature streams. They form outside the stream bend, which is also known as a meander, when soil erosion occurs as the stream rushes against the bank of the river. River cliffs are generally almost vertical and tend to expose the root systems of plants and trees found along the streams. Sometimes trees and buildings even topple into the stream, especially during long-lasting periods of heavy rain.