The King and Queen of Bluffs
Great River Bluffs State Park in Minnesota features steep bluffs rising 150 meters (500 feet) above the Mississippi River. Two specific sections of the park, King's Bluff and Queen's Bluff, are protected as scientific and natural areas.
A bluff is a steep cliff, or wall of rock or soil. Most bluffs border a river or its flood plain.
Bluffs may form along a river where it meanders, or curves from side to side. Water on the outside of the curve flows faster. This erodes, or wears away, the lower part of a river bank. No longer supported, the upper part of the bank breaks off, leaving a high, steep wall.
Erosion also produces bluffs along the edges of a flood plain. Over thousands of years, a meandering river gradually shifts from side to side across its flood plain. Where the meanders, or loops, of the river reach valley walls, the water may carve bluffs.
A bluff is different from an escarpment, another kind of cliff. An escarpment does not form near a river. Instead, it usually separates two relatively level sections of land.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry bluff Noun
Encyclopedic Entry: bluff border Verb
to exist on the edge of a boundary.
steep wall of rock, earth, or ice.
Encyclopedic Entry: cliff erode Verb
to wear away.
act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice.
Encyclopedic Entry: erosion escarpment Noun
cliff or steep rock that separates two level land surfaces.
Encyclopedic Entry: escarpment flood plain Noun
flat area alongside a stream or river that is subject to flooding.
Encyclopedic Entry: flood plain meander Verb
to wander aimlessly.
large stream of flowing fresh water.
Encyclopedic Entry: river river bank Noun
raised edges of land on the side of a river.
natural substance composed of solid mineral matter.
top layer of the Earth's surface where plants can grow.
extreme incline or decline.
depression in the Earth between hills.