National Geographic : 1896 Jun
THE SEINE, THE MEUSE, AND THE MOSELLE The case of the Ste. Austreberte.-Not far below the city of Rouen and precisely at the small town of Duclair, on the north bank of the Seine, there is an interesting little occurrence strongly confirmatory of the invigorated habit of the swinging river. Duclair is situated on the outer side of a- large north-turning meander. Into this north-turning meander descends a long sloping spur from the upland south of the river; east and west of Duclair similar long sloping spurs descend from the northern upland into the adjacent south-turning meanders. On looking closely at the map of the country or, still better, on looking over the region itself from the top of the bluff at the back of the town, it is seen that the western of the two northern spurs is obliquely cut across by a narrow, dry, flat-bottomed valley, which is just in continuation of the course of a little stream known as the Ste. Austreberte, coming from the northeast and mouthing in the Seine at Duclair. The dry valley was evidently at one time fol lowed by the lower course of this stream, and it is still followed by the highway and the railway, for which it serves for a " short cut" on their way down the Seine. (See Plate XXI.) The question then arises, Why has the stream deserted so well prepared a path? The answer is not far to seek. The change evidently occurred because the Duclair meander of the Seine pushed its inclosing bluff further and further north until the river cut through the ridge that separated it from the Ste. Aus treberte and thus tempted that stream to desert its lower course. This little fact, taken in connection with the slopes of the dove tailing spurs, fully justifies the opinion that the Seine is a most vigorous river, not only competent to swing around the curves of its former meanders, but demanding an increased radius for every curve, and thus widening its meander belt. Here and there, it is true, the swinging course of the river departs some what irregularly from the round curves of its valley, as if the river had shrunk somewhat away from the strong curves which it once followed. This may perhaps be explained as the result of the diminishing velocity of the river, now that it has cut its new valley deep below the adjacent upland and close to the con trolling baselevel, but the irregularities are exceptional and they need not be further considered. As a whole, the river may be regarded as an able-bodied stream turning vigorously from curve to curve on its way to the sea.* *An accident of the Ste. Austreberte type is found in the valley of the Marne a short distance below Meaux, where the Grand Morin now joins the Marne at Isles-les-Ville noy, abandoning a former lower course which led it to Precy.