A floodplain, or flood plain, is flat or nearly flat land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences occasional flooding.
It includes the floodway, which consists of the stream channel and adjacent areas that carry flood flows, and the flood fringe, which are areas covered by the flood, but which do not experience a strong current.
Floodplains are formed in two ways: by erosion; and by aggradation.
An erosional floodplain is created as a stream cuts deeper into its channel and laterally into its banks.
A stream with a steep gradient will tend to downcut faster than it causes lateral erosion, resulting in a deep, narrow channel with little or no floodplain at all.
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