When you have finished this page, take the Rivers Quiz.

While rivers are a small fraction of the earth's total surface, they are extremely important for transportation and for our economy by providing food and jobs.

Rivers are defined as narrow bodies of water that move along a certain path. They have a source, which is where the river begins and a mouth which is the larger body of water where the river flows into. Since water flows downward and along the easiest or deepest path, many rivers start in a higher area such as mountains. As rivers move along, they change the face of the earth that they flow over by wearing away the land and also by causing buildup at the end of the river. The mud and sand that builds up at the mouth of a river is called a delta.

Rivers are fresh water bodies.

Below is a chart of some of the earth's largest rivers

River Continent Length in Miles
Nile Africa 4,160
Amazon South America 3,900
Mississippi/Missouri North America 3,890
Ob Asia 3,200
Yangtze/Kiang Asia 3,100

Below is a map of major rivers and streams in the United States:

rivers of the United States map

 

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