GEO513 River Hydrology and Geomorphology (8)


In this subject students gain in-depth knowledge about flow hydrology, hydraulic behaviour, landforms and sedimentary deposits of rivers. Emphasis is given to flood hydrology, the mechanics of river flow, floodplain formation by meandering rivers, the effects of post-European settlement on the flow regime of rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin and the management of degraded rivers. As part of the four day residential school students are taken to selected sites to look at these issues. On completion, students will be able to critically apply the conceptual and practical frameworks that underpin the principles of river management .

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
OnlineAlbury-Wodonga Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: GEO513
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLSchool of Environmental Sciences

Enrolment restrictions

Students who have completed GEO314 may not enrol in this subject.
Incompatible subject(s)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to recognise and describe the distinctive landforms and sediments associated with rivers
  • have an in-depth understanding of the principles of flow hydrology and channel hydraulics
  • be able to apply specialised skills they have developed in field survey and the interpretation of hydrologic data, maps and air photographs
  • be able to critically apply the conceptual and practical frameworks that underpin the principles of river management with particular reference to channel change in Eastern Australia


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • Measurement of stream discharge;
  • The flood hydrograph - a case study of the Murrumbidgee River;
  • Flood magnitude - frequency analysis - a case study of flow regime change on the Murrumbidgee River since reservoir construction;
  • The mechanics of stream flow - viscosity, laminar and turbulent flow, Bernoulli Equation, upper and lower flow regimes;
  • Shear stress and resistance - the Manning Equation;
  • Stream sediment load;
  • River pollution - dissolved oxygen and eutrophication, salinity;
  • Scour and fill during floods;
  • Channel plan form - braided, meandering, anastomosing and straight;
  • Meanders - their formation and maintenance;
  • The flood plain - mechanisms of formation, sedimentology;
  • Channel behaviour - equilibrium, threshold and disequilibrium models - open and closed systems;
  • Channel response to long and short term climatic change;
  • Channel change in the period of European settlement in eastern Australia;
  • River management practices - erosion control, sediment movement, the role of the riparian zone and the use of environmental flows.

Residential School

This subject contains a compulsory 4 day residential school. GEO513 emphasises practical skills that are needed to carry out effective fieldwork in river environments - basic survey methods, stream gauging by current meter, the description of alluvial sediments and the assessment of channel condition.


The information contained in the 2017 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 25 August 2017. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.