A meander, in general, is a bend in a sinuous watercourse or river. A meander is formed when the moving water in a stream erodes the outer banks and widens its valley and the inner part of the river has less energy and deposits what it is carrying. A stream of any volume may assume a meandering course, alternately eroding sediments from the outside of a bend and depositing them on the inside. The result is a snaking pattern as the stream meanders back and forth across its down-valley axis. When a meander gets cut off from the main stream, an oxbow lake is formed. Over time meanders migrate downstream, sometimes in such a short time as to create civil engineering problems for local municipalities attempting to maintain stable roads and bridges.
There is not yet full consistency or standardization of scientific terminology used to describe watercourses. A variety of symbols and schemes exist. Parameters based on mathematical formulae or numerical data vary as well, depending on the database used by the theorist. Unless otherwise defined in a specific scheme "meandering" and "sinuosity" here are synonymous and mean any repetitious pattern of bends, or waveforms. In some schemes, "meandering" applies only to rivers with exaggerated circular loops or secondary meanders; that is, meanders on meanders.
Sinuosity is one of the channel types that a stream may assume over all or part of its course. All streams are sinuous at some time in their geologic history over some part of their length.
Horseshoe Bend is the name for a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona, in the United States. It is located 5 miles (8.0 km) downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, about 4 miles (6.4 km) southwest of Page. Accessible via a ½-mile (0.8 km) hike from U.S. Route 89, it can be viewed from the steep cliff above. According to Google terrain maps, the overlook is 4,200 feet (1,300 m) above sea level and the Colorado River is at 3,200 feet (980 m) above sea level making it a 1,000 feet (300 m) drop.