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Lakes and Rivers

How do the gradient and discharge of a stream change from headwaters to its mouth?


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June 10, 2015 12:00AM

The discharge for a single stream should not change much from the headwater to the mouth. The exceptions to the mouth would be if another stream joined the main stream, which would increase the discharge or if you loose a significant amount of water to infilitration, which would decrease the discharge. The gradient should be high at the headwaters and gradually decrease downstream where it should be low at the mouth. Of course differences in lithologies or secondary streams can change the gradient for a short distance, thought the overall profile should fit the expected model.