MICHAEL SZOENYI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL SZOENYI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alluvial fan deposits spreading out across the Campo Imperatore plateau in the Italian Apennine mountains. Alluvial fans form where a fast-flowing stream flows out from a canyon into a flatter plain. This slows the flow and causes material carried by the water to be deposited in a fan shape, with its apex at the mouth of the canyon. They are typically found in arid areas with occasional heavy rains. These cause flash floods that carry material down mountainsides onto the plains below.
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