The basic concepts in fluvial geomorphology are Equilibrium, Regime Theory and Channel Geometry, Geomorphic Thresholds and Scale. Equilibrium state is one in which the input of mass and energy to a specific system equals the outputs from the same system. In fluvial geomorphology it is this equilibrium state that the stream channels tend to achieve
Regime theory is grounded on the propensity of a stream system to obtain an equilibrium state under constant environmental conditions. The Regime Theory has a set of empirical equations relating channel shape to discharge, bank resistance and sediment load. It laid the foundation for a large body of work in Fluvial Geomorphology poring on the geometric properties of equilibrium alluvial channels and their adjustments to discharge and sediment transport regimes.
Many of the concepts in fluvial geomorphology can be traced to European origins; however, "Classical" American geomorphology as expressed by W.M. Davis has its roots in the Surveys of the Western United States conducted by the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey following the Civil War. The leading figures in this period of exploration were John Wesley Powell, Gore Karl Gilbert, and Clarence E. Dutton. ...