From above they look like canvasses with colorful paint dripping down them – but these images actually show the breathtaking natural wonder of braided rivers. The spectacular sight occurs when rivers continuously split into smaller channels, giving the impression they have been braided.
It tends to take place on steep slopes that have a large supply of coarse-grained sediments. As the river flow decreases, these sediments are deposited to form small temporary islands that disrupt the water flow. The wide blocks of water tend to be shallow, with mesmerising patterns constantly created.
A bird’s eye view of Brahmaputra River, Tibet, China. It is a perfect example of a braided river and is highly susceptible to channel migration and avulsion, where land is suddenly separated by flooding or a change in the course of a river.
The spectacular Joekulgilkvisl snakes its way through the Icelandic Highlands. The Rhyolite Mountains can be seen behind partially covered with snow.
Also in the Icelandic Highlands is the Tungnaa River, which looks spellbinding from above with its ever-changing channels.
Erosion shapes the path of the Awatere River in Marlborough, New Zealand, creating beautiful patterns when captured from above.
In both vibrant color and black and white, the Hopkins River on South Island, New Zealand (left) and the Toklat River in the Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska (right), look like works of art.
Braided rivers tend to occur on steep slopes, or in mountainous areas, that have a large supply of coarse-grained sediments. As the river flow decreases, these sediments are deposited to form small temporary islands that disrupt the water flow. This incredible water network can be found in Iceland.
From above it is clear to see the interweaving and braiding of the Cook River in West Coast South Island, New Zealand.
Silver braids of glacial silt are illuminated by the sun on the Canning River which traces the western boundary of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s coastal plain in the US.
One of Europe’s most impressive braided rivers is the Tagliamento which winds from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea at a point between Trieste and Venice.
An aerial view of the Kvichak River with numerous split channels in Southwestern Alaska reflects the clouds above.
Another Alaskan wonder is the Katmai Peninsula which looks like a vibrant painting when surrounded by the lush green landscape.
The natural wonder can be found across the globe, pictured is the tidal plains near the Malaspina Glacier in Southeast Alaska.
The sunrises over the Sagavanirktok River in Alaska, with fog hanging over the split streams on the horizon.
The braided Tasman River flows from the glaciers of Mount Cook in New Zealand’s Southern Alps at Mount Cook National Park.
Autumn colors perfectly accentuate the Eagle River in Chugach State Park, also in Alaska.