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RIVERS AND LAKES

What is the longest river in the world?

Egypt's famous Nile River is the longest in the world. It is more than 4,100 miles (6,597 kilometers) long from its sources in the Ethiopian Highlands (the source of the portion of the Nile called the Blue Nile) and Lake Victoria (the source of the White Nile). The Nile Valley is the center of contemporary and ancient Egyptian civilization. Following the Nile in length are the Amazon (in Brazil), the Missouri-Mississippi (United States), the Chang or Yangtze (China), the Huang or Yellow (China), and the Ob (Russia).

What is the longest river in the United States?

The Missouri-Mississippi River is the longest in the United States, approximately 3,860 miles (6,211 kilometers) in length.

Where are the highest rivers in the world?

The highest rivers are in Tibet, where there are two that stand out from all the rest: the Ating River at 20,013 feet (6,100 meters) and Brahmaputra River at 19,751 feet (6,020 meters).

Why are the Missouri-Mississippi Rivers lumped together?

Actually, the Missouri River was incorrectly named. The Missouri River is actually the main feeder river of what is now known as the Mississippi River. Usually, the main feeder bears the same name as the rest of the river. Therefore, the full length of the Mississippi River, including the Missouri River, is known as the Missouri-Mississippi River.

Which river carries the most water?

By far, Brazil's Amazon River carries more water to the sea than any other river in the world. The discharge at the mouth of the river is about seven million cubic feet (170,000 cubic meters) per second, which is about four times the flow of the Congo in Africa, the river ranked second in terms of discharge. It would take the Amazon only about 28 days to fill up Lake Erie. The Yangtze, Brahmaputra, Ganges, Yenisy, and Mississippi are other rivers with very high discharges.

What is a delta?

A delta is a low-lying area where a river meets the sea. Often, the river divides into many tributary streams, forming a triangular-shaped area. The river deposits a large amount of sediment at its mouth, creating excellent soil for farming once the channel

Do rivers always flow from north to south?

No, they do not! Rivers always flow from higher ground to lower ground. Though we are familiar with rivers like the Mississippi River in the United States, which flows from north to south, rivers always flow the way gravity takes them. There are many major rivers in Europe, Asia, and North America that flow from south to north, such as the Ob in Russia and the Mackenzie in Canada.

of the stream moves. One of the most famous deltas is where the Nile River meets the Mediterranean Sea. Other major deltas include the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana, the Ganges River delta in India, and the Yangtze delta in China. The word delta comes from the Greek letter delta, referring to its triangular shape when written.

What is a drainage basin?

The area that includes all of the tributaries for an individual stream or river is its drainage basin. For example, the drainage basin for the St. Lawrence River includes the area surrounding the Great Lakes. Rivers such as the Platte (which has its own drainage basin) flow into the Missouri, and the Missouri flows into the Mississippi. The combined area drained by the Platte, the Missouri, the Mississippi, and all other Mississippi River tributaries combined create the third largest drainage basin in the world. The Amazon has the largest drainage basin of any river, the Congo has the second largest.

What is a tributary?

Any stream that flows into another stream is a tributary. Most major rivers have hundreds of tributaries, which on a map look like branches of a tree. One classification system of rivers is based upon the number of tributaries a river has.

What is a watershed?

A watershed is the boundary between drainage basins. It is usually the crest of a mountain where water flows on either side into two different drainage basins.

What is a wadi?

Wadi is the Arabic word for a gully or other stream bed that is dry for most of the year. A wadi is a channel for streams that develop during the short rainy season. The channels of wadis were probably initially carved when the desert regions of today had more rainfall.

A perfect example of a meandering river—this one flowing through Alberta, Canada.

A perfect example of a meandering river—this one flowing through Alberta, Canada.

What is a meander?

Streams and rivers that have carved a flat floodplain commonly flow in curves known as meanders. These S-shaped curves vary by the size and flow of the river. The river flows faster on the outside curve of the meander and therefore continues to cut and create a larger curve.

What is an oxbow lake?

An oxbow lake is a crescent-shaped lake that is formed when the meander, or curve of a river, is cut off from the rest of the river during a flood, or when the curve of the meander becomes so large that the river begins flowing along a new path. The curve that remains becomes its own lake. These can commonly be seen along the Mississippi River system.

What is the world's largest lake?

The Caspian Sea (which is really a lake) is the largest lake in the world. It is surrounded by Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan and is over 143,200 square miles (370,888 square kilometers) in area. The second largest lake, Lake Superior in North America, is a mere 31,700 square miles (82,103 square kilometers).

Where is the highest lake in the world?

A yet-to-be-named crater lake found atop Ojos del Salado, a volcanic mountain on the border of Argentina and Chile, has an elevation of 20,965 feet (6,390 meters). Lake Titicaca, a lake sandwiched between Peru and Bolivia, is 12,507 feet (3,812 meters) above sea level and is the highest navigable lake in the world.

 
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