Dendritic Drainage Pattern

Introduction

The dendritic pattern is derived from the Greek word Dendrite which means tree. The pattern itself resembles the branches of a tree and develops gently into a sloping basin with the uniform rock type; the tributaries flow each other from the area because the rock type is the same throughout the entire area. One example of the dendritic drainage pattern is the Caroni river in Trinidad.  


Channels develop in areas where surface runoff occurs and materials can be loosened and transported by the kinetic energy of water. The classification system helps indicate topographic and geologic controls on water flow. 


The Dendritic Pattern

The streams within a drainage basin form certain patterns, depending on the slope of the land, underlying rock structure as well as the climatic conditions of the area. There are four types of drainage patterns: dendritic, trellis, rectangular, and radial. Today, we will learn about the dendritic pattern. The dendritic pattern develops when the river channel follows the slope of the terrain often found in mountainous areas. It is the most common form of drainage pattern and looks like the branching pattern of a tree when joined by tributaries. 


For example, Ganga with its tributaries forms the dendritic pattern in the northern plains. The streams will flow downhill pulled by gravity and come together from a small tributary into a large river. It develops in areas that are underlined by a relatively homogeneous or material, that’s roughly the same throughout and are not a lot resistant and non-resistant rocks and things like that. 


The subsurface geology has a similar resistance to weathering so there’s no apparent control over the direction the tributaries take joining larger trivet streams that are acute angles which means that at less than 90 degrees and that’s how you get the branching effect that we see. On maps, patterns form where there is a pronounced slope to the land surface so that one where we would have a mountain face raining. For example, into a valley, the parallel pattern develops, and regions of parallel elongated landforms like outcropping resistant band rock. Tributary streams tend to stretch out in a parallel fashion following the slope of the surface. Sometimes it indicates the presence of a major fault that cuts across its area of steeply folded bedrock. All forms of transitions can occur between dendritic and trellis patterns. 


You will find different kinds of water bodies on the Earth and the origin of these bodies may be different and similarly the way they are drained, those patterns can also be different. If we talk about the Ganga river system that creates the world-famous plains, before draining into the Bay of Bengal, it follows a particular drainage pattern in its basin. There are different kinds of patterns or systems of drainage that can be found that water bodies usually follow. In this article, we will be discussing one of the most common patterns that are followed by the water bodies. This topic will help you to learn the river system and one of the most famous patterns. 

 

About Drainage

If we talk about drainage, it is a process or a system or a way through which some liquid is being drained from one place to another. On the other hand, Geography or Geomorphology, if we talk about the drainage patterns or systems, are a system followed by the rivers or streams or lakes etc. in a drainage basin. It is also called a river system as well and largely depends upon the irregularity of the tectonic plates or the rocks laying under the water body or the land gradient. Based on the Geology or topography of the region, the drainage patterns can be classified into several categories. One of them we're going to discuss below ie. the dendritic drainage pattern, which is considered as one of the most important and common systems of drainage in Geomorphology.

 

Dendritic Drainage

It is one of the most common drainage patterns found in the world. It appears like branches of the roots of a tree and happens on that lithographic surface which has a uniform rock structure. It appears as a homogeneous structure and thus has a uniform and similar resistance towards the weathering and another phenomenon. In this kind of pattern, the tributaries usually join the larger stream at an acute angle which is less than 90°. The structure of the larger rivers along with their tributaries appears like branches of the tree and forms a V-shaped pattern.

 

The major examples of the rivers system that follows this dendritic drainage pattern are the Amazon river system which is found in South America, the Mississippi river system which is found in North America, the Ganga river system and the Indus river system which are found in Asia, etc. Besides these, mostly rivers found in Britain also follow this kind of pattern. The map of the Amazon river system is given below where you can see the Amazon River and its tributaries and also tributaries of the tributaries that combination makes this dendritic pattern. 

 

Dendritic Drainage Pattern in India

India is known as a land of rivers where a number of large and small rivers are found and these follow different drainage patterns. Basically, all major types of drainage patterns can be found in India in different regions of the country. If we specifically talk about the Dendritic drainage pattern, it can be found in the Ganga Brahmaputra river system, Indus river system, Mahanadi or Godavari, etc. In the following map, the dendritic drainage pattern of the Ganga river can be observed. Have a look, 

 

Besides these, the rivers that follow antecedent drainage are the Indus, the Satluj, the Ganga, the Tista and the Brahmaputra. The rivers that follow the consequent system are Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri. The examples of subsequent rivers are Chambal, Sind, Ken, Betwa etc whereas Damodar, Subarnarekha, Chambal, Bananas are examples of superinduced drainage. Besides these, trellis drainage, barbed pattern, rectangular drainage or radial pattern, annular and parallel drainage patterns are also found in India.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the meaning of dendrites?

The word dendrites is derived from the Greek word “dendrites” which denotes “of or like a tree.” This name was given according to the structure of the dendrites, which resemble the tree branches. Another name for which it is known is pinnate drainage pattern. The main river allows the sub rivers to feed off itself, which causes the river structure to appear like tree trunks and the sub rivers as the branches. And often, these sub rivers have further extensions of their own, which are also known as tributaries.  There is a kind of crystal where these tree-like structures are discovered, and that crystal is called dendrite rock.

2. What is the overview of the dendritic drainage pattern?

The dendritic system 

The dendritic pattern is the system combinedly created by the major rivers and their tributaries and the formation of these rivers and their tributaries that appears like the branches of the tree and thus the name of the pattern is known as dendritic. We learned what is the meaning of the dendritic pattern of drainage and how it looks and the various examples related to it that actually follow this pattern. This topic will not only increase your knowledge about one of the patterns of drainage followed by the rivers but will also help you in Geography or Geomorphology whenever you learn about rivers and the river systems or even whenever you study the maps. It will help you in identifying which particular river is following what kind of drainage patterns. 

3. What do You Mean by Drainage? Define Dendritic Patterns. 

Drainage is basically a process or a system or a way through which some liquid is being drained whereas if we talk about the drainage patterns or systems, they are basically a system followed by the rivers or streams or lakes etc in a drainage basin and it is also called river system as well and largely depends upon the irregularity of the tectonic plates or the rocks laying under the water body or the land gradient. If we specifically talk about the dendritic pattern, it is one of the most common drainage patterns found in the world which appears like branches of the roots of a tree and happens on that lithographic surface that has uniform rock structure and thus has similar resistance towards the weathering and other phenomena. In this, the tributaries usually join the larger water body at an acute angle. The structure of the larger rivers along with their tributaries appears like branches of the tree and forms in a V-shaped pattern.

4. What Kind of Drainage Patterns are Found in India? Where is the Dendritic Pattern of the River Found in India?

If we talk about the drainage patterns or systems in Geography or Geomorphology, they are basically a system followed by the rivers or streams or lakes etc in a drainage basin. It is also called the river system. In India, there is a number of rivers found and these rivers follow different kinds of drainage patterns as per their Geology or topography such as antecedent drainage, consequent and subsequent rivers, epigenetic drainage, dendritic drainage, trellis, barbed, rectangular, radial, annular, parallel, and deranged drainage pattern. In India, if we talk about dendritic drainage patterns, the rivers which follow this system are the Ganga - Brahmaputra, the Indus river system, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, etc. These rivers have different tributaries and form a structure that appears like branches of the tree.

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