cutoff

An alteration to the water course that occurred when the river cut through the narrow neck of a horseshoe-shaped bend. Natural cutoffs took place during flood stages when saturation and erosion weakened the banks, causing them to cave in and give way to the force of the moving water. Manmade cutoffs were formed by the construction of a narrow ditch across the peninsula, leaving a temporary earthen plug at either end. When the plugs were removed, the river flowed in and widened the ditch by scouring action. Given time, the river would abandon the longer path around the bend in favor of the cutoff.



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