The conventional view of pools and riffles in straight channels being identified with bends and inflections in meander trains is challenged; the alternative identification, pools and riffles inflections and bends is argued. Difficulties inherent in the conventional view are outlined and it is shown that the alternative is consistent with Bagnold's idea of “breakaways” when the radius of curvature is in the region of 2–3. The conflict could be resolved by experimental observation.

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