Rivers do not normally flow along a straight path down a flood plain. An instability causes them to "meander" over time. They can flow in small or large curves that can sometimes become large enough to cut off an "oxbow lake". Even the river Mersey, as it passes through its basin in the the southern parts of Manchester, shows all of these features (see around 53 degrees 26 minutes North and 2 degrees 23 minutes West on Google Earth).
A recent undergraduate project has led to some relatively neat model equations that can describe the meandering of rivers.
The project will involve solving these model equations numerically and examining how they can describe the path of an evolving river. Parts of the river Mersey and its movement, as seen when comparing old and new maps, can be used as a useful benchmark. The basis for the model can also be re-examined and further improvements can be made.