Point bar

Point bar

Position: In-channel



Bank-attached arcuate-shaped bar developed along the convex banks of meander bends. Bar forms follow the alignment of the bend, with differing radii of curvature. The bar surface is typically inclined towards the channel as are the sedimentary structures. Grain size typically fines down-bar (around-the-bend) and laterally (away from the channel). Typically these unit bar forms are unvegetated.


Process description

Result from lateral shift in channel position associated with deposition on the convex bank and erosion on the concave bank. Sand or gravel bedload material is moved by traction towards the inner sides of channel bends via helicoidal flow. Differing patterns of sedimentation are imposed by the radius of curvature (bend tightness) as well as the flow regime and sediment-load. The coarsest material is deposited from bedload at the bar head, where the thalweg is aligned adjacent to the convex bank (at the entrance to the bend). As the thalweg moves away from the convex bank down-bar, lower energy suspended load materials are deposited in secondary flow circulation cells, as the propensity for deposition is increased. Secondary flow also forces material up onto the face of the bar, building it laterally.