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Material deposited by rivers. It consists of silt, sand, clay, and gravel, as well as much organic matter. Alluvial deposits are usually most extensive in the lower part of a river's course, forming floodplains and deltas, but they may form at any point where the river overflows its banks or where the flow of a river is checked. They yield very fertile soils, such as those of the deltas of the Mississippi, Nile, Ganges and Brahmaputra, and Huang (Yellow) rivers. They contain most of the world's supply of tin ore, as well as, in some regions, gold, platinum, and gemstones.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on alluvial deposit, visit Britannica.com.