All About Rivers

Image Credit: Flickr User Grungepunk2010, via CC

On the way to her grandparent’s new house, Liv saw a river flowing. She wondered how and where does a river start and where does it end? It filled Liv with immense curiosity. Have you ever thought about it? Do you have an answer to Liv’s question?

Here is the answer.

A river starts somewhere in the mountains carrying the water that results from the melting snow and rainfall. The point, where river starts, is called the source of the river. Often many small streams combine together to create a river. A river flows through mountains, plains and valleys before it finally empties itself into a larger water body such as a lake or a sea. This point is known as the mouth of the river. Do you know that as the river merges into the sea, it leaves behind most of the sediment carried by it? Over long periods of time, this deposition builds up a very fertile patch of land known as delta.

When a river flows in its natural direction towards the mouth of the river, the river is said to be flowing downstream. If otherwise, the river is said to be flowing upstream.

The bottom of the river is the river bed while either side of the river is called bank. In between the banks and over the bed, the path of flow of the river is called channel. Some rivers flood during a certain part of the year and overflow covering the floodplains, the low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediment.

In September 2013, Curiosity sent pictures of dried up river bed on Mars which indicated that may be there once existed a river on Mars. Do you wonder if there are rivers in space at present? There is something on Titan, the biggest moon of Saturn, that looks like a river. But it is just some gases flowing! There are no extraterrestrial rivers. No water, no river!

So no rivers outside our Earth. How about rivers inside Earth? Do you think rivers flow under the surface of Earth?

Yes. Rivers that run wholly or partly beneath the ground surface do exist. Such rivers are called subterranean rivers.

The Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in Vietnam has an underground river flowing through its cave system. The Krizna cave system in Slovenia has 22 underground lakes.

Rivers are very useful. They are a source of food and water and transport. In Canada, lumberjacks often float huge logs on the river to transport them from one point to other. Cheap and easy! Powerful rivers can be used to generate energy through watermill. They are also great for recreational activities like river rafting and kayaking. In India, rivers hold immense religious importance. People believe that by taking a dip in the holy river water of Ganges, they can wash away their sins. Talk about troubling your mom as much as you like and then taking a dip in Ganges ;)

Can you guess what is the study of rivers called?

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