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a fine-grained fertile soil consisting of mud, silt, and sand deposited by flowing water on flood plains, in river beds, and in estuaries
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



or alluvial deposits. (1) Deposits of fluvial water courses—rivers, streams—forming floodplains and terraces of river valleys. They play a very important role in the structure of most continental sedimentary formations. The alluvium of plains rivers (see Figure 1) usually combines fluvial alluvium deposited in the migrating bed (obliquely laminated sands and gravel), floodplain alluvium which accumulates on the fluvial during floods (mainly loams and sandy loams), and oxbow-lake alluvium which settles in the oxbow-lakes (mainly sandy loams and loams which are rich in organic matter).

Figure 1. Diagram of structure of alluvium from plain river: (1) fluvial alluvium, (2) floodplain alluvium, (3) oxbow-lake alluvium, (4) bedrock from slopes and bottom of river valley, (5) water level during flooding.

The composition and structure of the alluvium differ substantially depending on the size and hydraulic regime of the flow, the relief of the drainage system, and the rock composing it. For example, in the alluvium of mountain rivers, there is a predominance of boulder and pebble fluvial alluvium; streams which flow through ravines and gullies deposit poorly graded alluvium in which it is difficult to distinguish the fluvial, floodplain, and other types of alluvium. In ancient sedimentary beds, the alluvium is usually cemented together and composed of hard fragmented rock such as conglomerates, sandstones, argillites, and so forth. The fluvial alluvium may contain placers of gold, platinum, and other useful minerals in addition to deposits of construction sands and gravel.

(2) In foreign literature, alluvium is the name often given to any deposits of running waters, including proluvium and deluvium.

(3) The obsolete name of all recent continental deposits formed in the postglacial age (Holocene); the term “alluvium” is sometimes used in this sense only in German literature.


Shantser, E. V. Alluvii ravninnykh rek umerennogo poiasa i ego znachenie dlia poznaniia zakonomernostei stroeniia i for-mirovaniia alliuvial’nykh svit. Moscow, 1951.
Shantser, E. V. Ocherki ucheniia o geneticheskikh tipakh. kontinental’nykh osadochnykh obrazovanii. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The detrital materials that are eroded, transported, and deposited by streams; an important constituent of shelf deposits. Also known as alluvial deposit; alluvion.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Gravel, sand, silt, soil, or other material that is deposited by running water.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Such source can either be the main ophiolite rock or the fragments present in the alluvium. The [sup.87]Sr/[sup.86]Sr homogeneity of the groundwater in all aquifers also suggests that these aquifers are hydraulically connected regardless of their lithology and hydraulic property variations.
The first zone shows relatively higher resistivity values that correlate with Jurassic strata outcrop and the second zone is characterized by low resistivity values whereas the third zone shows moderate resistivities that correlate with Plio-Quaternary alluvium.
The basin is composed of successive layers of alluvium fillings with thicknesses ranging between 300 meters in the west to 1300 meters in the east.
The result indicates that grain size analyses of river alluvium for Layer-1 and Layer-3 falls within limits of most liquefiable soils whereas clayey silt deposits (Layer-2) has higher percentage finer by weight in the grain size range of 75mm to 0.002 mm.
The larger silt content indicates sediments were deposited under a lower energy regime than the Old Alluvium meander plain.
The fracture systems are fed by leakage of water from the overlying alluvium.
This is the first record of Bison from Taos County and provides the first direct evidence of the late Pleistocene age of some of the alluvium overlying the Taos Plateau volcanic field.
Alluvium is an Andic Humitropept (Inceptisol) on gently undulating terrain.
This portion of the Nimitz rests on fine-grained sediments washed in with mud from the San Francisco Bay, while other, uncollapsed sections sit on alluvium deposits that better resist shaking.