Self-organized fractal river networks. Academic Article uri icon


  • Optimal channel networks (OCN's) obtained by minimizing the local and global rates of energy expenditure evolve automatically from arbitrary initial conditions to network configurations exhibiting fractal and multifractal statistics indistinguishable from those observed in nature. It is suggested that OCN's are spatial models of self-organized criticality and that natural fractal structures like river networks may arise as a joint consequence of optimality and randomness. 1993 The American Physical Society.

published proceedings

  • Phys Rev Lett

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Rinaldo, A., Rodriguez-Iturbe, I., Rigon, R., Ijjasz-Vasquez, E., & Bras, R. L.

citation count

  • 248

complete list of authors

  • Rinaldo, A||Rodriguez-Iturbe, I||Rigon, R||Ijjasz-Vasquez, E||Bras, RL

publication date

  • February 1993