The primary velocity field and pattern of secondary flow are described for nine consecutive bends of the Squamish River in southwest British Columbia.The velocity field largely can be explained in terms of variation in channel form, advective acceleration responses, and water transfers by secondary flow.The pattern of secondary flow accords with the general model of spiral flow in meanders. Divergences from this ideal pattern can be explained by bend–flow interaction induced by the variable planform geometry of the channel.The strength of secondary circulation increases rapidly as the ratio of the radius of bend curvature to channel width (rm/w) declines from 4.0 to the data minimum of 1.41. There is no discontinuity phenomenon in the flow structure over the measured range of rm/w; the Bagnold separation–collapse model does not apply to the Squamish River.As rm/w declines to values less than 3.0, the maximum velocity filament shifts from the concave to the convex bank zone. The resulting high shear stresses over the point bar and declining shear stresses at the concave bank markedly reduce the channel migration rate.Separation zones developed at the concave bank of tightly curved bends provide the mechanism for completely halting (and indeed reversing) the process of channel migration.

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