University of Edinburgh

BSL Geography Glossary - Ox-bow Lake - definition

Definition: What is an oxbow lake? An oxbow-lake is a horse-shoe shaped lake at the side of a river. A long time ago, an oxbow lake would have been a meander on the river. But how did the meander get cut off? Over time the river eroded the land at the start of the meander. The meander curved almost to a circle. Then the river took the more direct path and went straight through. The meander was left as a curved lake beside the river.