The largest size of particle that a river can carry. Competence varies with water depth, but is reduced with channel widening (Cheetham (1979) GSA Bull. 90, 9). The sixth power law suggests that a doubling, for example, of river velocity would raise competence by 26, i.e. by a factor of 64. Baker and Ritter (1975) GSA Bull. 86, 7 demonstrate the analysis of shear stress as an estimate of competence. See also hjulström diagram.
Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.