List of rivers by length: Wikis

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View of the Nile River, from a cruiseboat, between Luxor and Aswan in Egypt.

This is a list of the longest rivers on Earth. It includes river systems over 1,000 kilometers.

Contents

Definition of length

The length of a river is very hard to calculate. It depends on the identification of the source, the identification of the mouth, and the scale of measurement of the river length between source and mouth. As a result, the length measurements of many rivers are only approximations. In particular, there has long been disagreement as to whether the Amazon or the Nile is the world's longest river.

The source of a river is not hard to determine because a river typically has many tributaries. Among the many sources, the one that is farthest away from the mouth is considered as the source of the river, thus giving a maximal river length. In practice, the tributary with the farthest source is not always the one given the name of the river. For example, the farthest source of the Mississippi River system is the source of the Jefferson River, a tributary of the Missouri River which in turn is a tributary of the Mississippi. However, a different (and shorter) tributary is identified as the Mississippi. When the river is measured from mouth to farthest source, it is called the Mississippi-Missouri-Jefferson. Also, it is hard to state exactly where a river begins as very often rivers are formed by seasonal streams, swamps, or changing lakes. In this article, length means the length of the longest continuous river channel in a given river system, regardless of name.

The mouth of a river is hard to determine in cases where the river has a large estuary that gradually widens and opens into the ocean; examples are the River Plate and the Saint Lawrence River. Some rivers like the Okavango or Colorado do not have a mouth; instead they dwindle to very low water volume and eventually evaporate, or sink into an aquifer, or get diverted for agriculture. The exact point where these rivers end will vary seasonally.

The length of a river between source and mouth may be hard to determine due to issues of map scale. Small scale maps (those showing large areas) tend to generalize, or "smooth" lines more than large scale maps (those showing small areas). According to the generally accepted ideal, length measurements should be based on maps that are of a large enough scale to show the width of the river, and the path measured is the path a small boat would take down the middle of the river.

Even when detailed maps are available, the length measurement is not always clear. A river may have multiple channels, or anabranchs. The length may depend on whether the center or the edge of the river is measured. It may not be clear how to measure the length through a lake. Seasonal and annual changes may alter both rivers and lakes. Other factors that can change the length of a river include cycles of erosion and flooding, dams, levees, and channelization. In addition, the length of meandering can change significantly over time due to natural or artificial cutoffs, when a new channel cuts across a narrow strip of land, bypassing a large river bend. For example, due to 18 cutoffs created between 1766 and 1885 the length of the Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois, to New Orleans, Louisiana, was reduced by 218 miles (351 km).[1]

These points make it difficult, if not impossible, to get an accurate measurement of the length of a river. The varying accuracy and precision also makes it difficult to make length comparisons between different rivers without a degree of uncertainty.

List of rivers longer than 1000 km

One should take the aforementioned discussion into account when using the data in the following table. For most rivers, different sources provide conflicting information on the length of a river system. The information in different sources is between parentheses.

Continent color key
Africa Asia Oceania Europe North America South America
River Length (km) Length (miles) Drainage area (km²) Average discharge (m³/s) Outflow Countries in the drainage basin
1.** Nile 6,650 4,132 3,349,000 5,100 Mediterranean Sea Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo
2.** Amazon 6,400
4,000
6,915,000 219,000 Atlantic Ocean Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana
3. Yangtze
(Chang Jiang)
6,300
3,917
1,800,000 31,900 East China Sea China
4. MississippiMissouri 6,275
3,902
2,980,000 16,200 Gulf of Mexico United States (98.5%), Canada (1.5%)
5. YeniseiAngaraSelenga 5,539
3,445
2,580,000 19,600 Kara Sea Russia, Mongolia
6. Yellow
(Huang He)
5,464
3,398
745,000 2,110 Bohai Sea
(Balhae)
China
7. ObIrtysh 5,410 3,364 2,990,000 12,800 Gulf of Ob Russia, Kazakhstan, P.R. China, Mongolia
8. CongoChambeshi
(Zaïre)
4,700
2,922
3,680,000 41,800 Atlantic Ocean Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda
9. AmurArgun
(Heilong Jiang)
4,444 2,763 1,855,000 11,400 Sea of Okhotsk Russia, P.R. China, Mongolia
10. Lena 4,400
2,736
2,490,000 17,100 Laptev Sea Russia
11. Mekong
(Lancang Jiang)
4,350 2,705 810,000 16,000 South China Sea Laos, Thailand, P.R. China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar
12. MackenziePeaceFinlay 4,241
2,637
1,790,000 10,300 Beaufort Sea Canada
13. Niger 4,200
2,611
2,090,000 9,570 Gulf of Guinea Nigeria (26.6%), Mali (25.6%), Niger (23.6%), Algeria (7.6%), Guinea (4.5%), Cameroon (4.2%), Burkina Faso (3.9%), Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, Chad
14. Paraná
(Río de la Plata)
3,998
2,486
3,100,000 25,700 Atlantic Ocean Brazil (46.7%), Argentina (27.7%), Paraguay (13.5%), Bolivia (8.3%), Uruguay (3.8%)
15. Volga 3,645 2,266 1,380,000 8,080 Caspian Sea Russia (99.8%), Kazakhstan (minor)
16. Shatt al-ArabEuphrates 3,596
2,236
884,000 856 Persian Gulf Iraq (60.5%), Turkey (24.8%), Syria (14.7%)
17. Purus 3,379 2,101 63,166 8,400 Amazon Brazil, Peru
18. MurrayDarling 3,370[2]
2,094
1,061,000 767 Indian Ocean Australia
19. MadeiraMamoré 3,239 2,014 850,000 17,000 Amazon Brazil, Bolivia, Peru
20. Yukon 3,700 2,300 850,000 6,210 Bering Sea United States (59.8%), Canada (40.2%)
21. Indus
(Sindhu)
3,180 1,976 960,000 7,160 Arabian Sea Pakistan (93%), India, China,Afghanistan
22. São Francisco 3,180*
(2,900)
1,976*
(1,802)
610,000 3,300 Atlantic Ocean Brazil
23. Syr DaryaNaryn 3,078 1,913 219,000 703 Aral Sea Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
24. Salween
(Nu Jiang)
3,060 1,901 324,000 3,153[3] Andaman Sea P.R. China (52.4%), Myanmar (43.9%), Thailand (3.7%)
25. Saint LawrenceNiagaraDetroitSaint ClairSaint MarysSaint Louis 3,058 1,900 1,030,000 10,100 Gulf of Saint Lawrence Canada (52.1%), United States (47.9%)
26. Rio Grande 3,057
(2,896)
1,900
(1,799)
570,000 82 Gulf of Mexico United States (52.1%), Mexico (47.9%)
27. Lower Tunguska 2,989 1,857 473,000 3,600 Yenisei Russia
28. Brahmaputra 2,948* 1,832* 1,730,000 19,200[4] Bay of Bengal India (58.0%), P.R. China (19.7%), Nepal (9.0%), Bangladesh (6.6%), Disputed India/P.R. China (4.2%), Bhutan (2.4%)
29. Danube 2,850* 1,771* 817,000 7,130 Black Sea Romania (28.9%), Hungary (11.7%), Austria (10.3%), Serbia (10.3%), Germany (7.5%), Slovakia (5.8%), Bulgaria (5.2%), Croatia (4.5%),
30. Tocantins 2,699 1,677 1,400,000 13,598 Atlantic Ocean, Amazon Brazil
31. Zambezi
(Zambesi)
2,693* 1,673* 1,330,000 4,880 Mozambique Channel Zambia (41.6%), Angola (18.4%), Zimbabwe (15.6%), Mozambique (11.8%), Malawi (8.0%), Tanzania (2.0%), Namibia, Botswana
32. Vilyuy 2,650 1,647 454,000 1,480 Lena Russia
33. Araguaia 2,627 1,632 358,125 6,172 Tocantins Brazil
34. Amu Darya 2,620 1,628 534,739 1,400 Aral Sea Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan
35. Japurá
(Rio Yapurá)
2,615* 1,625* 242,259 6,000 Amazon Brazil, Colombia
36. NelsonSaskatchewan 2,570 1,597 1,093,000 2,575 Hudson Bay Canada, United States
37. Paraguay
(Rio Paraguay)
2,549 1,584 900,000 4,300 Paraná Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina
38. Kolyma 2,513 1,562 644,000 3,800 East Siberian Sea Russia
39. Ganges/Padma
(Ganga)
2,510 1,560 907,000 12,037[5] Brahmaputra, Bay of Bengal India, Bangladesh, Nepal
40. Pilcomayo 2,500 1,553 270,000 Paraguay Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia
41. Upper Ob 2,490 1,547 Ob Russia
42. Ishim 2,450 1,522 177,000 56 Irtysh Kazakhstan, Russia
43. Juruá 2,410 1,498 200,000 6,000 Amazon Peru, Brazil
44. Ural 2,428 1,509 237,000 475 Caspian Sea Russia, Kazakhstan
45. Arkansas 2,348 1,459 505,000
(435,122)
1,066 Mississippi United States
46. UbangiUele 2,300 1,429 4,003 Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic
47. Olenyok 2,292 1,424 219,000 1,210 Laptev Sea Russia
48. Dnieper 2,287 1,421 516,300 1,670 Black Sea Russia, Belarus, Ukraine
49. Aldan 2,273 1,412 729,000 5,060 Lena Russia
50. Negro 2,250 1,450 720,114 26,700 Amazon Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia
51. Columbia 2,250 (1,953) 1,450 (1,214) 415,211 7500 Pacific Ocean United States, Canada
52. Colorado (western U.S.) 2,333 1,450 390,000 1,200 Gulf of California United States, Mexico
53. PearlXi Jiang 2,200 1,376 437,000 13,600 South China Sea P.R. China (98.5%), Vietnam (1.5%)
54. Red 2,188 1,360 78,592 875 Mississippi United States
55. Ayeyarwady
(Irrawaddy)
2,170 1,348 411,000 13,000 Andaman Sea Myanmar
56. Kasai 2,153 1,338 880,200 10,000 Congo Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo
57. OhioAllegheny 2,102 1,306 490,603 7,957 Mississippi United States
58. Orinoco 2,101 1,306 880,000 30,000 Atlantic Ocean Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana
59. Tarim 2,100 1,305 557,000 Lop Nur P. R. China
60. Xingu 2,100 1,305 Amazon Brazil
61. Orange 2,092 1,300     Atlantic Ocean South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho
62. Northern Salado 2,010 1,249 Paraná Argentina
63. Vitim 1,978 1,229 Lena Russia
64. Tigris 1,950 1,212 Shatt al-Arab Turkey, Iraq, Syria
65. Songhua 1,927 1,197 Amur P. R. China
66. Tapajós 1,900 1,181 Amazon Brazil
67. Don 1,870 1,162 425,600 935 Sea of Azov Russia, Ukraine
68. Stony Tunguska 1,865 1,159 240,000 Yenisei Russia
69. Pechora 1,809 1,124 322,000 Barents Sea Russia
70. Kama 1,805 1,122 507,000 Volga Russia
71. Limpopo 1,800 1,118 413,000 Indian Ocean Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana
72. Guaporé (Itenez) 1,749 1,087 Mamoré Brazil, Bolivia
73. Indigirka 1,726 1,072 360,400 1,810 East Siberian Sea Russia
74. Snake 1,670 1,038 279,719 1,611 Columbia United States
75. Senegal 1,641 1,020 419,659 Atlantic Ocean Senegal, Mali, Mauritania
76. Uruguay 1,610 1,000 370,000 Atlantic Ocean Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil
77. Blue Nile 1,600 994 Nile Ethiopia, Sudan
77. Churchill 1,600 994 Hudson Bay Canada
77. Khatanga 1,600 994 Laptev Sea Russia
77. Okavango 1,600 994 Okavango Delta Namibia, Angola, Botswana
77. Volta 1,600 994 Gulf of Guinea Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin
82. Beni 1,599 994 Madeira Bolivia
83. Platte 1,594 990 Missouri United States
84. Tobol 1,591 989 Irtysh Kazakhstan, Russia
85. JubbaShebelle 1,580* 982* Indian Ocean Ethiopia, Somalia
86. Içá (Putumayo) 1,575 979 Amazon Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador
87. Magdalena 1,550 963 Caribbean Sea Colombia
88. Han 1,532 952 Yangtze P. R. China
89. Lomami 1,500 932 Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
89. Oka 1,500 932 Volga Russia
91. Pecos 1,490 926 Rio Grande United States
92. Upper Yenisei 1,480 920 Yenisei Russia, Mongolia
93. Godavari 1,465 910 Bay of Bengal India
94. Colorado (Texas) 1,438 894 Gulf of Mexico United States
95. Río Grande (Guapay) 1,438 894 Ichilo Bolivia
96. Belaya 1,420 882 Kama Russia
97. CooperBarcoo 1,420 880 Lake Eyre Australia
98. Marañón 1,415 879 Amazon Peru
99. Dniester 1,411 (1,352) 877 (840) Black Sea Ukraine, Moldova
100. Benue 1,400 870 Niger Cameroon, Nigeria
100. Ili
(Yili)
1,400 870 Lake Balkhash P. R. China, Kazakhstan
100. WarburtonGeorgina 1,400 870 Lake Eyre Australia
103. Sutlej 1,372 852 Chenab China, India, Pakistan
104. Yamuna 1,370 851 Ganges India
105. Vyatka 1,370 851 Kama Russia
106. Fraser 1,368 850 220,000 3,475 Pacific Ocean Canada
107. Kura 1,364 848 Caspian Sea Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Iran
108. Grande 1,360 845 Paraná Brazil
109. Brazos 1,352 840 Gulf of Mexico United States
110. Cauca River 1,350 839 Magdalena River Colombia
111. Liao 1,345 836 Bo Hai P. R. China
112. Yalong 1,323 822 Yangtze P. R. China
113. Iguaçu 1,320 820 Paraná Brazil, Argentina
113. Olyokma 1,320 820 Lena Russia
113. Rhine 1,320 820 198,735 2,330 North Sea Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy (minimal)
116. Northern DvinaSukhona 1,302 809 357,052 3,332 White Sea Russia
117. Krishna 1,300 808 Bay of Bengal India
117. Iriri 1,300 808 Xingu Brazil
119. Narmada 1,289 801 Arabian Sea India
120. Ottawa 1,271 790 Saint Lawrence Canada
121. Zeya 1,242 772 Amur Russia
122. Juruena 1,240 771 Tapajós Brazil
123. Upper Mississippi 1,236 768 Mississippi United States
124. Athabasca 1,231 765 95,300 Mackenzie Canada
124. ElbeVltava 1,231 765 148,268 711 North Sea Germany, Czech Republic
126. Canadian 1,223 760 Arkansas United States
127. North Saskatchewan 1,220 758 Saskatchewan Canada
128. Draa 1,218 994 Atlantic Ocean Morocco
129. Vaal 1,210 752 Orange South Africa
130. Shire 1,200 746 Zambezi Mozambique, Malawi
131. Nen
(Nonni)
1,190 739 Songhua P. R. China
132. Green 1,175 730 Colorado (western U.S.) United States
133. Milk 1,173 729 Missouri United States, Canada
134. Chindwin 1,158 720 Ayeyarwady Myanmar
135. Sankuru 1,150 715 Kasai Democratic Republic of the Congo
136. James (Dakotas) 1,143 710 Missouri United States
136. Kapuas 1,143 710 South China Sea Indonesia
138. Desna 1,130 702 88,900 360 Dnieper Russia, Ukraine
138. Helmand 1,130 702 Hamun-i-Helmand Afghanistan, Iran
138. Madre de Dios 1,130 702 Madeira Peru, Bolivia
138. Tietê 1,130 702 Paraná Brazil
138. Vychegda 1,130 702 Northern Dvina Russia
143. Sepik 1,126 700 77,700 Pacific Ocean Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
144. Cimarron 1,123 698 Arkansas United States
145. Anadyr 1,120 696 Gulf of Anadyr Russia
146. Jialing River 1,119 695 Yangtze P. R. China
147. Liard 1,115 693 Mackenzie Canada
148. White 1,102 685 Mississippi United States
149. Huallaga 1,100 684 Marañón Peru
149. Kwango 1,100 684 263,500 2,700 Kasai Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo
151. Gambia 1,094 680 Atlantic Ocean The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea
152. Chenab 1,086 675 Indus India, Pakistan
153. Yellowstone 1,080 671 114,260 Missouri United States
154. Aras 1072 665 102,000 285 Kura Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran
155. Chu River 1067 663 62,500 none Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan
156. Donets 1,078 (1,053) 670 (654) Don Ukraine, Russia
157. Bermejo 1,050 652 Paraguay Argentina, Bolivia
157. Fly 1,050 652 Gulf of Papua Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
157. Guaviare 1,050 652 Orinoco Colombia
157. Kuskokwim 1,050 652 Bering Sea United States
161. Tennessee 1,049 652 Ohio United States
162. Daugava 1,020 634 87,900 678 Gulf of Riga Latvia, Belarus, Russia
163. Gila 1,015 631 Colorado (western U.S.) United States
164. Vistula 1,014 630 194,424 1,080 Baltic Sea Poland
165. Loire 1,012 629 Atlantic Ocean France
166. Essequibo 1,010 628 Atlantic Ocean Guyana
166. Khoper 1,010 628 Don Russia
168. Tagus
(Tajo/Tejo)
1,006 625 80,100 Atlantic Ocean Spain, Portugal
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Notes

  • When the length of a river is followed by an asterisk , it is an average of multiple information sources. If the difference in lengths between given information sources is significant, all lengths are listed. Likewise, if the lengths from secondary information sources are similar, they are averaged and that figure has an asterisk.
  • Scientists debate whether the Amazon or the Nile is the longest river in the world. Traditionally, the Nile has been considered longer, but recent information indicates that the Amazon may be longer. Differences in the recorded length of the Amazon mainly depend on whether or not it is valid to take a course south of the Ilha de Marajó at the Amazon's mouth. New evidence, (dated 16 June 2007) obtained from a high-altitude scientific venture in the Andes, claims that "the Amazon is longer than the Nile by 100km, with its longest headwater being the Carhuasanta stream originating in the south of Peru on the Nevado Mismi mountain's northern slopes and flowing into the Río Apurímac"[6]. However, the origin of the river at Nevado Mismi had already been known more than one decade earlier (see Jacek Palkiewicz), and satellite based measuring from this origin to the Amazon mouth has resulted in not more than 6,400 km.
  • Generally, the most commonly used/anglicised name of the river is used. The name in a native language or alternate spelling may be shown.
  • The exact percentage of each river in countries may be disputed (including the effects of political frontier disputes) or unknown.
The Mississippi River just north of St. Louis.
Saint Lawrence River along the New York-Quebec border.

River systems that may have existed in the past

Amazon-Congo

The Amazon basin formerly drained westwards into the Pacific Ocean, until the Andes rose and reversed the drainage.[7]

The Congo basin is completely surrounded by high land, except for its long narrow exit valley past Kinshasa, including waterfalls around Manyanga. That gives the impression that most of the Congo basin was formerly on a much higher land level and that it was rejuvenated by much of its lower course being removed.

In Permian and early Triassic times Africa and South America were close against each other with no sea between (see continental drift and plate tectonics), and the Congo probably drained into the Amazon basin and eventually into the Pacific. Including part of its course that was completely lost when the South Atlantic opened, its total course may have been anything up to approximately 12,000 km (7,500 miles) long.

West Siberian Glacial Lake drainage

This river would have been about 10,000 km (6,000 miles) long, in the last Ice Age. See West Siberian Glacial Lake. Its longest headwater was the Selenga river of Mongolia: it drained through ice-dammed lakes and the Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea.

Nile

Formerly Lake Tanganyika drained northwards into the Albert Nile, making the Nile somewhere around 700 miles longer, until in the Miocene the Virunga Volcanoes arose and blocked its course. Also, when the Mediterranean Sea was dry during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the Nile extended northwards over the dry seabed and thus may have gained 100 miles or more in length.

Eridanos

The Eridanos was a large river during the Baventian Stage about two million years ago in the late early Pleistocene, when it was about 2700 kilometres or about 1700 miles long, a little shorter than the modern Danube. It began in Lapland, and then flowed through the area of the modern-day Gulf of Bothnia and Baltic Sea to western Europe, where it had an immense delta which spanned almost all the current North Sea. It was comparable in size to the current-day Amazon River.

Po

Similarly to the Nile, during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the Po would have extended its course south-eastwards in what is today the seabed of the Adriatic Sea, more or less doubling its current length (652 km), likely varying seasonally according to how far it managed to flow across the hot dry seabed until it dried.

See also

References

Notes


and Aswan in Egypt.]]

This is a list of the longest rivers on Earth. It includes river systems over 1,000 kilometers.

Contents

Definition of length

The length of a river can be very hard to calculate. There are many factors, such as the source, the identification of the mouth, and the scale of measurement of the river length between source and mouth, that determine the precise meaning of "river length". As a result, the length measurements of many rivers are only approximations. In particular, there has long been disagreement as to whether the Amazon or the Nile is the world's longest river. The Nile has traditionally been considered longer, but in recent years some studies have suggested that Amazon in fact is longer.[1][2][3][4]

For the purpose of determining maximum length a river's "true source" is considered to be the source of whichever tributary is farthest from the mouth. This tributary may or may not have the same name as the main stem river. For example, the source of the Mississippi River is normally said to be Lake Itasca, but the most distant source in the Mississippi system is that of the Jefferson River, a tributary of the Missouri River which in turn is a tributary of the Mississippi. When the Mississippi is measured from mouth to this farthest source, it is called the Mississippi-Missouri-Jefferson. Furthermore, it is sometimes hard to state exactly where a river begins, especially rivers that are formed by ephemeral streams, swamps, or changing lakes. In this article, length means the length of the longest continuous river channel in a given river system, regardless of name.

The mouth of a river is hard to determine in cases where the river has a large estuary that gradually widens and opens into the ocean; examples are the River Plate and the Saint Lawrence River. Some rivers, like the Okavango, Humboldt, and Kern do not have a mouth; instead they dwindle to very low water volume and eventually evaporate, or sink into an aquifer, or get diverted for agriculture. The exact point where these rivers end will vary seasonally.

The source of some rivers starting in farming areas can be difficult to determine, if the river is formed by the confluence of several farm field drainage ditches which only contain water after rain. Similarly, in rivers starting in a chalk area, such as the Chilterns in south England, the length of the upper course which is dry varies with how high the water table is, which varies with the weather: see winterbourne (stream).

The length of a river between source and mouth may be hard to determine due to issues of map scale. Small scale maps (those showing large areas) tend to generalize, or "smooth" lines more than large scale maps (those showing small areas). According to the generally accepted ideal, length measurements should be based on maps that are of a large enough scale to show the width of the river, and the path measured is the path a small boat would take down the middle of the river.[citation needed]

Even when detailed maps are available, the length measurement is not always clear. A river may have multiple channels, or anabranches. The length may depend on whether the center or the edge of the river is measured. It may not be clear how to measure the length through a lake. Seasonal and annual changes may alter both rivers and lakes. Other factors that can change the length of a river include cycles of erosion and flooding, dams, levees, and channelization. In addition, the length of meanders can change significantly over time due to natural or artificial cutoffs, when a new channel cuts across a narrow strip of land, bypassing a large river bend. For example, due to 18 cutoffs created between 1766 and 1885 the length of the Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois, to New Orleans, Louisiana, was reduced by 218 miles (351 km).[5]

These points make it difficult, if not impossible, to get an accurate measurement of the length of a river. The varying accuracy and precision also makes it difficult to make length comparisons between different rivers without a degree of uncertainty.

List of rivers longer than 1000 km

One should take the aforementioned discussion into account when using the data in the following table. For most rivers, different sources provide conflicting information on the length of a river system. The information in different sources is between parentheses.

Continent color key
Africa Asia Australia Europe North America South America
River Length (km) Length (miles) Drainage area (km²) Average discharge (m³/s) Outflow Countries in the drainage basin
1. Nile[n 1] 6,650
(6,853)
4,132
(4,258)
3,349,000 5,100 Mediterranean Sea Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Democratic Republic of the Congo
2. Amazon[n 1] 6,400
(6,992)
3,976
(4,345)
6,915,000 219,000 Atlantic Ocean Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana
3. Yangtze
(Chang Jiang)
6,300
3,917
1,800,000 31,900 East China Sea China
4. MississippiMissouri 6,275
3,902
2,980,000 16,200 Gulf of Mexico United States (98.5%), Canada (1.5%)
5. Río de la Plata – Paraná – Paranaíba[6][7] 6,170
3,830
4,144,000 22,000 Atlantic Ocean Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay
6. YeniseiAngaraSelenga 5,539
3,445
2,580,000 19,600 Kara Sea Russia, Mongolia
7. Yellow
(Huang He)
5,464
3,398
745,000 2,110 Bohai Sea
(Balhae)
China
8. ObIrtysh 5,410 3,364 2,990,000 12,800 Gulf of Ob Russia, Kazakhstan, P.R. China, Mongolia
9. Paraná[6] 4,880
3,030
2,582,672 18,000 Río de la Plata Brazil (46.7%), Argentina (27.7%), Paraguay (13.5%), Bolivia (8.3%), Uruguay (3.8%)
10. CongoChambeshi
(Zaïre)
4,700
2,922
3,680,000 41,800 Atlantic Ocean Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda
11. AmurArgun
(Heilong Jiang)
4,444 2,763 1,855,000 11,400 Sea of Okhotsk Russia, P.R. China, Mongolia
11. Lena 4,400
2,736
2,490,000 17,100 Laptev Sea Russia
12. Mekong
(Lancang Jiang)
4,350 2,705 810,000 16,000 South China Sea Laos, Thailand, P.R. China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar
13. MackenziePeaceFinlay 4,241
2,637
1,790,000 10,300 Beaufort Sea Canada
14. Niger 4,200
2,611
2,090,000 9,570 Gulf of Guinea Nigeria (26.6%), Mali (25.6%), Niger (23.6%), Algeria (7.6%), Guinea (4.5%), Cameroon (4.2%), Burkina Faso (3.9%), Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, Chad
15. MurrayDarling 3,672[8]
2,282
1,061,000 767 Great Australian Bight Australia
16. Volga 3,645 2,266 1,380,000 8,080 Caspian Sea Russia
17. Shatt al-ArabEuphrates 3,596
2,236
884,000 856 Persian Gulf Iraq (60.5%), Turkey (24.8%), Syria (14.7%)
18. Madeira – Mamoré 3,250 2,020 850,000 17,000 Amazon Brazil, Bolivia, Peru
19. Purus 3,211 1,995 63,166 8,400 Amazon Brazil, Peru
20. Yukon 3,185 1,980 850,000 6,210 Bering Sea United States (59.8%), Canada (40.2%)
21. Indus
(Sindhu)
3,180 1,976 960,000 7,160 Arabian Sea Pakistan (93%), India, China, Afghanistan
22. São Francisco 3,180*
(2,900)
1,976*
(1,802)
610,000 3,300 Atlantic Ocean Brazil
23. Syr DaryaNaryn 3,078 1,913 219,000 703 Aral Sea Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
24. Salween
(Nu Jiang)
3,060 1,901 324,000 3,153[9] Andaman Sea P.R. China (52.4%), Myanmar (43.9%), Thailand (3.7%)
25. Saint LawrenceNiagaraDetroitSaint ClairSaint MarysSaint Louis 3,058 1,900 1,030,000 10,100 Gulf of Saint Lawrence Canada (52.1%), United States (47.9%)
26. Rio Grande 3,057
(2,896)
1,900
(1,799)
570,000 82 Gulf of Mexico United States (52.1%), Mexico (47.9%)
27. Lower Tunguska 2,989 1,857 473,000 3,600 Yenisei Russia
28. Brahmaputra 2,948* 1,832* 1,730,000 19,200[10] Bay of Bengal India (58.0%), P.R. China (19.7%), Nepal (9.0%), Bangladesh (6.6%), Disputed India/P.R. China (4.2%), Bhutan (2.4%)
29. Danube
(Duna)
2,850* 1,771* 817,000 7,130 Black Sea Romania (28.9%), Hungary (11.7%), Austria (10.3%), Serbia (10.3%), Germany (7.5%), Slovakia (5.8%), Bulgaria (5.2%), Croatia (4.5%),
30. Tocantins 2,699 1,677 1,400,000 13,598 Atlantic Ocean, Amazon Brazil
31. Zambezi
(Zambesi)
2,693* 1,673* 1,330,000 4,880 Mozambique Channel Zambia (41.6%), Angola (18.4%), Zimbabwe (15.6%), Mozambique (11.8%), Malawi (8.0%), Tanzania (2.0%), Namibia, Botswana
32. Vilyuy 2,650 1,647 454,000 1,480 Lena Russia
33. Araguaia 2,627 1,632 358,125 6,172 Tocantins Brazil
34. Amu Darya 2,620 1,628 534,739 1,400 Aral Sea Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan
35. Japurá
(Rio Yapurá)
2,615* 1,625* 242,259 6,000 Amazon Brazil, Colombia
36. NelsonSaskatchewan 2,570 1,597 1,093,000 2,575 Hudson Bay Canada, United States
37. Paraguay
(Rio Paraguay)
2,549 1,584 900,000 4,300 Paraná Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina
38. Kolyma 2,513 1,562 644,000 3,800 East Siberian Sea Russia
39. Ganges/Padma
(Ganga)
2,510 1,560 907,000 12,037[11] Brahmaputra, Bay of Bengal India, Bangladesh, Nepal
40. Pilcomayo 2,500 1,553 270,000 Paraguay Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia
41. Upper Ob 2,490 1,547 Ob Russia
42. Ishim 2,450 1,522 177,000 56 Irtysh Kazakhstan, Russia
43. Juruá 2,410 1,498 200,000 6,000 Amazon Peru, Brazil
44. Ural 2,428 1,509 237,000 475 Caspian Sea Russia, Kazakhstan
45. Arkansas 2,348 1,459 505,000
(435,122)
1,066 Mississippi United States
47. Olenyok 2,292 1,424 219,000 1,210 Laptev Sea Russia
48. Dnieper 2,287 1,421 516,300 1,670 Black Sea Russia, Belarus, Ukraine
49. Aldan 2,273 1,412 729,000 5,060 Lena Russia
46. UbangiUele[12] 2,270 1,410 772,800 4,000 Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo
50. Negro 2,250 1,450 720,114 26,700 Amazon Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia
51. Columbia 2,250 (1,953) 1,450 (1,214) 415,211 7,500 Pacific Ocean United States, Canada
52. Colorado (western U.S.) 2,333 1,450 390,000 1,200 Gulf of California United States, Mexico
53. PearlZhu Jiang 2,200 1,376 437,000 13,600 South China Sea P.R. China (98.5%), Vietnam (1.5%)
54. Red 2,188 1,360 78,592 875 Mississippi United States
55. Ayeyarwady
(Irrawaddy)
2,170 1,348 411,000 13,000 Andaman Sea Myanmar
56. Kasai 2,153 1,338 880,200 10,000 Congo Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo
57. OhioAllegheny 2,102 1,306 490,603 7,957 Mississippi United States
58. Orinoco 2,101 1,306 1,380,000 98,000 Atlantic Ocean Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana
59. Tarim 2,100 1,305 557,000 Lop Nur P. R. China
60. Xingu 2,100 1,305 Amazon Brazil
61. Orange 2,092 1,300     Atlantic Ocean South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho
62. Northern Salado 2,010 1,249 Paraná Argentina
63. Vitim 1,978 1,229 Lena Russia
64. Tigris 1,950 1,212 Shatt al-Arab Turkey, Iraq, Syria
65. Songhua 1,927 1,197 Amur P. R. China
66. Tapajós 1,900 1,181 Amazon Brazil
67. Don 1,870 1,162 425,600 935 Sea of Azov Russia,
68. Stony Tunguska 1,865 1,159 240,000 Yenisei Russia
69. Pechora 1,809 1,124 322,000 Barents Sea Russia
70. Kama 1,805 1,122 507,000 Volga Russia
71. Limpopo 1,800 1,118 413,000 Indian Ocean Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana
72. Guaporé (Itenez) 1,749 1,087 Mamoré Brazil, Bolivia
73. Indigirka 1,726 1,072 360,400 1,810 East Siberian Sea Russia
74. Snake 1,670 1,038 279,719 1,611 Columbia United States
75. Senegal 1,641 1,020 419,659 Atlantic Ocean Senegal, Mali, Mauritania
76. Uruguay 1,610 1,000 370,000 Atlantic Ocean Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil
77. Blue Nile 1,600 994 Nile Ethiopia, Sudan
77. Churchill 1,600 994 Hudson Bay Canada
77. Khatanga 1,600 994 Laptev Sea Russia
77. Okavango 1,600 994 Okavango Delta Namibia, Angola, Botswana
77. Volta 1,600 994 Gulf of Guinea Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin
82. Beni 1,599 994 Madeira Bolivia
83. Platte 1,594 990 Missouri United States
84. Tobol 1,591 989 Irtysh Kazakhstan, Russia
85. JubbaShebelle 1,580* 982* Indian Ocean Ethiopia, Somalia
86. Içá (Putumayo) 1,575 979 Amazon Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador
87. Magdalena 1,550 963 Caribbean Sea Colombia
88. Han 1,532 952 Yangtze P. R. China
89. Oka 1,500 932 Volga Russia
91. Pecos 1,490 926 Rio Grande United States
92. Upper Yenisei 1,480 920 Yenisei Russia, Mongolia
93. Godavari 1,465 910 Bay of Bengal India
94. Colorado (Texas) 1,438 894 Gulf of Mexico United States
95. Río Grande (Guapay) 1,438 894 Ichilo Bolivia
96. Belaya 1,420 882 Kama Russia
97. CooperBarcoo 1,420 880 Lake Eyre Australia
98. Marañón 1,415 879 Amazon Peru
99. Dniester 1,411 (1,352) 877 (840) Black Sea Ukraine, Moldova
100. Benue 1,400 870 Niger Cameroon, Nigeria
100. Ili
(Yili)
1,400 870 Lake Balkhash P. R. China, Kazakhstan
100. WarburtonGeorgina 1,400 870 Lake Eyre Australia
103. Sutlej 1,372 852 Chenab China, India, Pakistan
104. Yamuna 1,370 851 Ganges India
105. Vyatka 1,370 851 Kama Russia
106. Fraser 1,368 850 220,000 3,475 Pacific Ocean Canada
107. Mtkvari (Kura) 1,364 848 Caspian Sea Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkey, Iran
108. Grande 1,360 845 Paraná Brazil
109. Brazos 1,352 840 Gulf of Mexico United States
110. Cauca 1,350 839 Magdalena Colombia
111. Liao 1,345 836 Bo Hai P. R. China
112. Yalong 1,323 822 Yangtze P. R. China
113. Iguaçu 1,320 820 Paraná Brazil, Argentina
113. Olyokma 1,320 820 Lena Russia
113. Rhine 1,233 768 198,735 2,330 North Sea Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy (minimal)
116. Northern DvinaSukhona 1,302 809 357,052 3,332 White Sea Russia
117. Krishna 1,300 808 Bay of Bengal India
117. Iriri 1,300 808 Xingu Brazil
119. Narmada 1,289 801 Arabian Sea India
120. Lomami[13] 1,280 795 Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo
120. Ottawa 1,271 790 Saint Lawrence Canada
121. Zeya 1,242 772 Amur Russia
122. Juruena 1,240 771 Tapajós Brazil
123. Upper Mississippi 1,236 768 Mississippi United States
124. Athabasca 1,231 765 95,300 Mackenzie Canada
124. ElbeVltava 1,231 765 148,268 711 North Sea Germany, Czech Republic
126. Canadian 1,223 760 Arkansas United States
127. North Saskatchewan 1,220 758 Saskatchewan Canada
128. Draa 1,218 994 Atlantic Ocean Morocco
129. Vaal 1,210 752 Orange South Africa
130. Shire 1,200 746 Zambezi Mozambique, Malawi
131. Nen
(Nonni)
1,190 739 Songhua P. R. China
132. Kızıl River 1,182 734 115,000 400 Black Sea Turkey
133. Green 1,175 730 Colorado (western U.S.) United States
134. Milk 1,173 729 Missouri United States, Canada
135. Chindwin 1,158 720 Ayeyarwady Myanmar
136. Sankuru 1,150 715 Kasai Democratic Republic of the Congo
137. James (Dakotas) 1,143 710 Missouri United States
138. Kapuas 1,143 710 South China Sea Indonesia
139. Desna 1,130 702 88,900 360 Dnieper Russia, Ukraine
140. Helmand 1,130 702 Hamun-i-Helmand Afghanistan, Iran
141. Madre de Dios 1,130 702 Madeira Peru, Bolivia
142. Tietê 1,130 702 Paraná Brazil
142. Vychegda 1,130 702 Northern Dvina Russia
144. Sepik 1,126 700 77,700 Pacific Ocean Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
145. Cimarron 1,123 698 Arkansas United States
146. Anadyr 1,120 696 Gulf of Anadyr Russia
146. Paraíba do Sul 1,120 696 Atlantic Ocean Brazil
148. Jialing River 1,119 695 Yangtze P. R. China
149. Liard 1,115 693 Mackenzie Canada
150. Cumberland 1,105 687 46,830 862 Mississippi United States
150. White 1,102 685 Mississippi United States
152. Huallaga 1,100 684 Marañón Peru
152. Kwango 1,100 684 263,500 2,700 Kasai Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo
154. Gambia 1,094 680 Atlantic Ocean The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea
155. Chenab 1,086 675 Indus India, Pakistan
156. Yellowstone 1,080 671 114,260 Missouri United States
158. Aras 1,072 665 102,000 285 Kura Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran
159. Chu River 1,067 663 62,500 none Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan
160. Donets 1,078 (1,053) 670 (654) Don Russia
161. Bermejo 1,050 652 Paraguay Argentina, Bolivia
162. Fly 1,050 652 Gulf of Papua Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
163. Guaviare 1,050 652 Orinoco Colombia
164. Kuskokwim 1,050 652 Bering Sea United States
165. Tennessee 1,049 652 Ohio United States
166. Vistula 1,047 630 194,424 1,080 Baltic Sea Poland
167. Aruwimi[14] 1,030 640 Congo River Democratic Republic of the Congo
168. Daugava 1,020 634 87,900 678 Gulf of Riga Latvia, Belarus, Russia
169. Gila 1,015 631 Colorado (western U.S.) United States
170. Loire 1,012 629 Atlantic Ocean France
171. Essequibo 1,010 628 Atlantic Ocean Guyana
172. Khoper 1,010 628 Don Russia
173. Tagus
(Tajo/Tejo)
1,006 625 80,100 Atlantic Ocean Spain, Portugal

Notes

  • When the length of a river is followed by an asterisk , it is an average of multiple information sources. If the difference in lengths between given information sources is significant, all lengths are listed. Likewise, if the lengths from secondary information sources are similar, they are averaged and that figure has an asterisk.
  • Scientists debate whether the Amazon or the Nile is the longest river in the world. Traditionally, the Nile has been considered longer, but recent information indicates that the Amazon may be longer. Differences in the recorded length of the Amazon mainly depend on whether or not it is valid to take a course south of the Ilha de Marajó at the Amazon's mouth. New evidence, (dated 16 June 2007) obtained from a high-altitude scientific venture in the Andes, claims that "the Amazon is longer than the Nile by 100km, with its longest headwater being the Carhuasanta stream originating in the south of Peru on the Nevado Mismi mountain's northern slopes and flowing into the Río Apurímac"[15]. However, the origin of the river at Nevado Mismi had already been known more than one decade earlier (see Jacek Palkiewicz), and satellite based measuring from this origin to the Amazon mouth has resulted in not more than 6,400 km.
  • Generally, the most commonly used/anglicised name of the river is used. The name in a native language or alternate spelling may be shown.
  • The exact percentage of each river in countries may be disputed (including the effects of political frontier disputes) or unknown.
.]]

River systems that may have existed in the past

Amazon-Congo

The Amazon basin formerly drained westwards into the Pacific Ocean, until the Andes rose and reversed the drainage.[16]

The Congo basin is completely surrounded by high land, except for its long narrow exit valley past Kinshasa, including waterfalls around Manyanga. That gives the impression that most of the Congo basin was formerly on a much higher land level and that it was rejuvenated by much of its lower course being removed.

In Permian and early Triassic times Africa and South America were close against each other with no sea between (see continental drift and plate tectonics), and the Congo probably drained into the Amazon basin and eventually into the Pacific. Including part of its course that was completely lost when the South Atlantic opened, its total course may have been anything up to approximately 12,000 km (7,500 miles) long.

West Siberian Glacial Lake drainage

This river would have been about 10,000 km (6,000 miles) long, in the last Ice Age. See West Siberian Glacial Lake. Its longest headwater was the Selenga river of Mongolia: it drained through ice-dammed lakes and the Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea.

Nile

Formerly Lake Tanganyika drained northwards into the Albert Nile, making the Nile somewhere around 700 miles longer, until in the Miocene the Virunga Volcanoes arose and blocked its course. Also, when the Mediterranean Sea was dry during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the Nile extended northwards over the dry seabed and thus may have gained 100 miles or more in length.

Eridanos

The Eridanos was a large river during the Baventian Stage about two million years ago in the late early Pleistocene, when it was about 2700 kilometres or about 1700 miles long, a little shorter than the modern Danube. It began in Lapland, and then flowed through the area of the modern-day Gulf of Bothnia and Baltic Sea to western Europe, where it had an immense delta which spanned almost all the current North Sea. It was comparable in size to the current-day Amazon River.

Po

Similarly to the Nile, during the Messinian Salinity Crisis, the Po would have extended its course south-eastwards in what is today the seabed of the Adriatic Sea, more or less doubling its current length (652 km), likely varying seasonally according to how far it managed to flow across the hot dry seabed until it dried.

See also

Notes and references

Notes
  1. ^ a b The Nile is usually said to be the longest river in the world, with a length of about 6,650 km,[4] and the Amazon the second longest, with a length of at least 6,400 km.[3] In recent decades debate has intensified over the true source and therefore the length of the Amazon River.[1] Studies in 2007 and 2008 concluded that the Amazon has a length of 6,992 km and was longer than the Nile, whose length was calculated as 6,853 km.[2] However, as of 2010 the length of both rivers remains open to interpretation and continued debate.[3]
References
  1. ^ a b "Amazon river 'longer than Nile'". BBC News. 16 June 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6759291.stm. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Studies from INPE indicate that the Amazon River is 140km longer than the Nile". Brazilian National Institute for Space Research. http://www.inpe.br/ingles/news/news_dest29.php. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Amazon River". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/18722/Amazon-River. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Nile River". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2010. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/415347/Nile-River. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Largest Rivers in the United States, United States Geological Survey.
  6. ^ a b "Río de la Plata". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/463804/Rio-de-la-Plata. Retrieved 11 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Merriam–Webste r (2000). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. Merriam–Webster. p. 1224. ISBN 9780877790174. http://books.google.com/books?id=V2d12iZkgOwC&pg=PA1224. 
  8. ^ http://www.ga.gov.au/education/geoscience-basics/landforms/longest-rivers.jsp GeoScience Australia
  9. ^ "Impact of Humans on the Flux of Terrestrial Sediment to the Global Coastal Ocean". Archived from the original on 2006-09-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20060919054444/http://instaar.colorado.edu/deltaforce/papers/global_sediment_flux.html. Retrieved 2006-02-27. 
  10. ^ "River and Drainage System of Bangladesh". http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/R_0208.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  11. ^ Ganges - Farakka
  12. ^ Bossche, J.P. vanden; G. M. Bernacsek (1990). Source Book for the Inland Fishery Resources of Africa, Volume 1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 338. ISBN 9789251029831. http://books.google.com/books?id=WLZRxM9vfXoC&pg=PA338. 
  13. ^ Bossche, J.P. vanden; G. M. Bernacsek (1990). Source Book for the Inland Fishery Resources of Africa, Volume 1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 333. ISBN 9789251029831. http://books.google.com/books?id=WLZRxM9vfXoC&pg=PA333. 
  14. ^ Bossche, J.P. vanden; G. M. Bernacsek (1990). Source Book for the Inland Fishery Resources of Africa, Volume 1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 333. ISBN 9789251029831. http://books.google.com/books?id=WLZRxM9vfXoC&pg=PA333. 
  15. ^ Daily Telegraph, Monday 18 June 2007, page 18
  16. ^ "Amazon river flowed into the Pacific millions of years ago". mongabay.com. http://news.mongabay.com/2006/1024-amazon.html. Retrieved 2006-02-27. 

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