As a river flows through a region, shaping the landscape as it goes, stream bends naturally form. These draw the eye along loops and curves of rushing water.
When a flood occurs, new flow paths can form and cut off river sections. The newly isolated water bodies are called oxbow lakes.
Formed 600 years ago by a migrating Mississippi River, Lake Chicot is the largest natural lake in the state of Arkansas and the largest oxbow lake in North America. Its French name comes from the many cypress trees that line its banks.
Tennessee’s Reelfoot Lake is shallow enough that some consider it a swamp. It was formed by the Mississippi River after an earthquake changed the river’s flow. The lake is known for bald eagles that nest nearby.
Half Moon Lake
This Wisconsin lake is a favorite destination for fishermen looking to catch yellow perch, bass and bluegill. In the late 1800s, Half Moon Lake was used as a holding pool for tree logs awaiting transport to mills.
Lying in an English flood plain, Cuckmere Haven is an estuarial region that contains several oxbow lakes. It sits where the Cuckmere River meets the English Channel. It is home to a variety of wildlife and supports robust agriculture.
A freshwater lake, Srebarna is a breeding ground for nearly 100 species of birds. Among these are the Dalmatian pelican and purple heron. It sits in a nature reserve in northeastern Bulgaria.