The 20 longest rivers in the world

Rivers are an essential part of the Earth's topography and, in addition, they are a source of water and, therefore, of life. They are a fundamental piece of terrestrial ecosystems. Y Although together they barely contain 3.5% of the Earth's total water, there are some rivers that are true colossi.

On Earth there are 246 rivers that have a route, from their source to their mouth, of more than 1,000 km. And, although it is not easy to determine its length exactly due to the difficulties to identify its exact source, due to the presence of tributaries or because of scale measurements, we have approximations that allow us to know which are the longest rivers on the planet.

Rivers are freshwater systems in which water flows, by action of gravity and through depressions in the ground, from its source in the mountains to its mouth generally in a sea or ocean.

And in today's article we will embark on an exciting journey to discover fascinating facts and curiosities about the longest rivers on Earth. until reaching the Amazon River, which, with a length of 7,062 km, is the undisputed king. Let's go there.

Índice()

    What are the longest rivers on Earth?

    As we have said, rivers are flows of water that together constitute the fluvial ecosystem of the Earth and that consist of a natural stream of fresh water that flows continuously through a channel determined by a depression in the earth's crust.

    Having understood this, we can now begin our journey through the longest rivers on planet Earth. We will go in ascending order of length until we reach the Amazon River, indicating next to each of them its length. Let us begin.

    20. São Francisco River: 3,180 km

    We started our journey with the São Francisco River, which has a length of 3,180 km, a hydrographic basin (the territory in which rainfall drains into the same river) of 610,000 km² and a flow (the amount of water that flows through a section of the concrete channel per unit of time) average of 3,300 m³ / s.

    It is a river in Brazil that originates in the Serra de Canastra, about 1,200 meters above sea level, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It has a great economic, cultural and social importance in the Brazilian states that it crosses and currently and despite the opposition, there is a transfer project to solve drought problems in the Northeast of Brazil.

    19. Indus River: 3,180 km

    The Indus River has a length of 3,180 km, a hydrographic basin of 1,165,000 km² and an average flow of 7,160 m³ / s. It is an Asian river that originates in the Tibetan Plateau and flows through China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, until it empties into the Arabian Sea. After the Ganges, it was the most important river in the Indian region both economically and culturally.

    18. Yukon River: 3,184 km

    The Yukon River has a length of 3,184 km, a hydrographic basin of 850,000 km² and an average flow of 6,210 m³ / s. It is a North American river with one half that runs through Alaska (United States) and the other half that runs through the Yukon Territory, in Canada. It empties into the Bering Sea in a major delta and the year 2017 suffered a sudden change in its current due to the melting of a glacier due to the effect of global warming.

    17. Shatt al-Arab - Euphrates - Murat river system: 3,596 km

    The Shatt al-Arab - Euphrates - Murat river system has a length of 3,596 km, a watershed of 884,000 km² and an average flow of 856 m³ / s. It is a system formed by three rivers that run through Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey that flow into the Persian Gulf. Its flow is not abundant since it runs through desert areas in most of its sections in Syria, but in conditions of abundant rainfall, this can be up to 5,200 m³ / s.

    16. Volga River: 3,646 km

    The Volga River has a length of 3,646 km, a hydrographic basin of 1,380,000 km² and an average flow of 8,080 m³ / s. It is a river that runs through Kazakhstan and Russia and empties into the Caspian Sea. It is born in the Valdai hills, between Moscow and Saint Petersburg, 228 meters above sea level. Much of Russia's industrial activities take place on its shores.

    15. Murray - Darling River System: 3,672 km

    The Murray - Darling river system has a length of 3,672 km, a watershed of 1,061,000 km² and an average flow of 767 m³ / s. It is a system made up of two rivers that run through Australia and flow into the Indian Ocean. The Murray River is the main one and the Darling River the tributary. It is born in the Australian Alps and has always been present in the mythology of the Australian aborigines. Unfortunately, its overexploitation and introduction of exotic species is threatening its biological diversity.

    14. Niger River: 4,200 km

    The Niger River has a length of 4,200 km, a watershed of 2,090,000 km² and an average flow of 9,570 m³ / s. It is a river that flows through Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Niger and Nigeria, ending in the Gulf of Guinea. It is a navigable river and an important means of communication, transport and commerce for the countries through which it flows. It is the third longest river in Africa and has a marshy delta of more than 400 km in length.

    13. Mackenzie - Slave - Peace - Finlay River System: 4,241 km

    The Mackenzie - de los Esclavos - de la Paz - Finlay river system has a length of 4,241 km, a watershed of 1,805,200 km² and an average flow of 9,700 m³ / s. It is a system of four rivers where the main one is the Mackenzie. It runs through Canada, it is the second longest river in North America and empties into the Beaufort Sea, in the Arctic Ocean.

    12. Lena River: 4,400 km

    The Lena River has a length of 4,400 km, a hydrographic basin of 2,490,000 km² and an average flow of 17,100 m³ / s. It runs through Russia and empties into the Laptev Sea, a sector of the Arctic Ocean that runs along the eastern coast of Siberia. It is born in the Baikal mountains, at about 1,640 meters of altitude, until it flows into a delta where more than 16 million liters of water reach the sea every second.

    11. Amur - Argún river system: 4,444 km

    The Amur - Argún fluvial system has a length of 4,444 km, a hydrographic basin of 1,855,000 km² and an average flow of 11,400 m³ / s. It runs through China, Mongolia and Russia and empties into the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. The Amur River is the main one in this system and means "River of the Black Dragon", being a very important symbol of relations between Russia and China.

    10. Congo River: 4,700 km

    We enter the TOP 10 and we find the Congo River, which has a length of 4,880 km, a hydrographic basin of 3,680,000 km² and an incredible average flow of 41,800 m³ / s, which makes it the second largest river. mighty of the world, surpassed only by the Amazon. It is also the deepest river, as some areas have a depth of up to 230 meters.

    It runs through Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia (where it is born in Lake Bangweulu) and empties into the Atlantic Ocean through an estuary almost 5 km wide. Its basin is so immense that it represents almost a tenth of the African continent.

    9. Mekong River: 4,880 km

    The Mekong River has a length of 4,880 km, a hydrographic basin of 810,000 km² and an average flow of 16,000 m³ / s. It runs through Laos, Cambodia, China, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam and empties into the South China Sea. It is a river that is difficult to navigate due to variations in its flow and the presence of waterfalls and rapids in its higher courses. It is born in the Himalayas and is the second longest river in Southeast Asia.

    8. Paraná - Paranaíba river system: 4,880 km

    The Paraná - Paranaíba river system has a length of 4,880 km, a hydrographic basin of 3,100,000 km² and an average flow of 25,700 m³ / s. It runs through Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and empties into the Río de la Plata, which is an estuary in the Atlantic Ocean and the border between Argentina and Uruguay. The Paraná River is the main river and its basin covers a large part of central South America.

    7. Obi river system - Irtish: 5,410 km

    The Obi - Irtish river system has a length of 5,410 km, a watershed of 2,990,000 km² and an average flow of 12,800 m³ / s. It runs through China, Kazakhstan and Russia and empties into the Gulf of Obi, a gulf in Russia more than 1,000 km long in the Arctic Ocean.

    6. Yellow River: 5,464 km

    The Yellow River has a length of 5,464 km, a watershed of 745,000 km² and an average flow of 2,110 m³ / s. It runs exclusively through China and empties into the Bohai Sea, a gulf in the Pacific Ocean with oil and gas deposits. It was born in the mountains of Bayan Har, in western China, and it was around it that the first Chinese civilizations settled.

    Currently, 14% of Chinese GDP (remember that, with 13.61 billion dollars, it is the highest GDP in the world) is directly linked to the Yellow River, by having 15 hydroelectric dams around its route, supply water to more than 60 cities in the country and allow the feeding of more than 12% of a population of 1,439,323,776 people.

    5. Yenisei River: 5,539 km

    The Yenisei River has a length of 5,539 km, a hydrographic basin of 2,580,000 km² and an average flow of 19,600 m³ / s. It runs through Mongolia and Russia and flows into the Kara Sea, a sector located north of Siberia (Russia), in the Arctic Ocean. It really is a system of different rivers, but the Yenisei is the main one. It also has the eighth largest river basin in the world.

    4. Mississippi River: 6,275 km

    The Mississippi River has a length of 6,275 km, a watershed of 2,980,000 km² and an average flow of 16,200 m³ / s. It runs through Canada and the United States and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, a region of the Caribbean Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean. It is the longest river in North America and, being born in Lake Itasca (Minnesota) and crossing the United States from north to south, its name means, in its pre-Columbian origin, “father of the waters”. It has the fourth largest basin in the world, surpassed only by the Nile River, the Congo and the Amazon.

    3. Yangtze River: 6,300 km

    We reached the TOP 3 and we found the Yangtze River, which has a length of 6,300 km, a hydrographic basin of 1,800,000 km² and an average flow of 31,900 m³ / s. It runs through China, is the longest river in Asia and empties into the East China Sea, near Shanghai, in the Pacific Ocean.

    The Yangtze River has the largest dam in the world, which feeds the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. What's more, its waters make possible the production of 70% of rice in China, which is why it is believed that it indirectly feeds 40% of the population. The region through Yunnan province, where amazing gorges are formed, is a World Heritage Site.

    2. Nile River: 6,853 km

    The Nile River is the second longest river in the world. It has a length of 6,853 km, a hydrographic basin of 3,349,000 km² (the third largest in the world) and an average flow of 5,100 m³ / s. It is born in the heart of a tropical forest in Rwanda (although it is also located in Burundi or in Lake Victoria, Tanzania) and runs through, in addition to Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda and empties into the Mediterranean Sea.

    Until 2007 it was considered the longest river in the world, but a redefinition of the source of the Amazon caused it to be relegated to a not inconsiderable second position. Most of the river flows through desert areas and was a key element in the development of the ancient Egyptian civilization.

    1. Amazon River: 7,062 km

    We reached the undisputed king. The Amazon River is the longest and largest river in the world. It has a length of 7,062 km, a watershed of 6,915,000 km² (the largest on Earth) and an astonishing average flow of 219,000 m³ / s. It only contains a fifth of the total fresh water on the planet. And it contains more water than the Nile, Yangtze and Mississippi combined.

    The Amazon River is born in the Quebrada de Apacheta, in southern Peru, and flows through, in addition to Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Bolivia, Venezuela and Brazil, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean through an estuary of more than 240 km wide. Due to its colossal dimensions, since its width can be more than 48 km in some sections, it is known as “El Río Mar”.

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