A tributaryor affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage basin of its surface water and groundwater, leading the water out into an ocean.
A confluence, where two or more bodies of water meet together, usually refers to the joining of tributaries.
The opposite to a tributary is a distributary, a river or stream that branches off from and flows away from the main stream.Distributaries are most often found in river deltas.
"Right tributary" and "left tributary" (or "right-bank tributary" and "left-bank tributary") are terms stating the orientation of the tributary relative to the flow of the main stem river. These terms are defined from the perspective of looking downstream (in the direction the water current of the main stem is going).
An "early tributary" is a tributary that joins the main stem river closer to the main river's source than its end. Similarly, a "late tributary" joins the main river much further downstream, closer to the main river's end point.
In the United States, where tributaries sometimes have the same name as the river into which they feed, they are called forks. These are typically designated by compass direction. For example, the American River in California receives flow from its North, Middle, and South forks. The Chicago River's North Branch has the East, West, and Middle Fork; the South Branch has its South Fork, and used to have a West Fork as well (now filled in).
Forks are sometimes designated as right or left. Here, the "handedness" is from the point of view of an observer facing upstream. For instance, Steer Creek has a left tributary which is called Right Fork Steer Creek.
Tributaries are sometimes listed starting with those nearest to the source of the river and ending with those nearest to the mouth of the river. The Strahler Stream Order examines the arrangement of tributaries in a hierarchy of first, second, third, and higher orders, with the first-order tributary being typically the least in size. For example, a second-order tributary would be the result of two or more first-order tributaries combining to form the second-order tributary.
Another method is to list tributaries from mouth to source, in the form of a tree structure, stored as a tree data structure.[ citation needed ]
The Casiquiare river is a distributary of the upper Orinoco flowing southward into the Rio Negro, in Venezuela, South America. As such, it forms a unique natural canal between the Orinoco and Amazon river systems. It is the world's largest river of the kind that links two major river systems, a so-called bifurcation. The area forms a water divide, more dramatically at regional flood stage.
The Madeira River is a major waterway in South America, approximately 3,250 km (2,020 mi) long. The Madeira is the biggest tributary of the Amazon, accounting for about 15% of the water in the basin. A map from Emanuel Bowen in 1747, held by the David Rumsey Map Collection, refers to the Madeira by the pre-colonial, indigenous name Cuyari:
The River of Cuyari, called by the Portuguese Madeira or the Wood River, is formed by two great rivers, which join near its mouth. It was by this River, that the Nation of Topinambes passed into the River Amazon.
The river IJssel, sometimes called Gelderse IJssel to avoid confusion with the Hollandse IJssel, is the branch of the Rhine in the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. The Romans knew the river as Isala. The IJssel flows from Westervoort, east of the city of Arnhem, until it discharges into the IJsselmeer. The River IJssel is one of the three major distributary branches into which the Rhine divides shortly after crossing the German-Dutch border.
A distributary, or a distributary channel, is a stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel. Distributaries are a common feature of river deltas. The phenomenon is known as river bifurcation. The opposite of a distributary is a tributary. Distributaries are found where a stream nears a lake or an ocean. They can also occur inland, on alluvial fans, or where a tributary stream bifurcates as it nears its confluence with a larger stream. In some cases, a minor distributary can divert so much water from the main channel that it can become the main route.
The Xiang River is the chief river of the Lake Dongting drainage system of the middle Yangtze, the largest river in Hunan Province, China. It is the 2nd largest tributary in terms of surface runoff, the 5th largest tributary by drainage area of the Yangtze tributaries. The river flows generally northeast through Guangxi and Hunan two provinces, its tributaries reach into Jiangxi and Guangdong.
The Feather River is the principal tributary of the Sacramento River, in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. The river's main stem is about 73 miles (117 km) long. Its length to its most distant headwater tributary is just over 210 miles (340 km). The main stem Feather River begins in Lake Oroville, where its four long tributary forks join together—the South Fork, Middle Fork, North Fork, and West Branch Feather Rivers. These and other tributaries drain part of the northern Sierra Nevada, and the extreme southern Cascades, as well as a small portion of the Sacramento Valley. The total drainage basin is about 6,200 square miles (16,000 km2), with approximately 3,604 square miles (9,330 km2) above Lake Oroville.
A body of water or waterbody is any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planet's surface. The term most often refers to oceans, seas, and lakes, but it includes smaller pools of water such as ponds, wetlands, or more rarely, puddles. A body of water does not have to be still or contained; rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are also considered bodies of water.
The Liao River is the principal river in southern Northeast China, and one of the seven main river systems in mainland China. Its name derived from the Liao region, a historical name for southern Manchuria, from which the Liaoning province, Liaodong Peninsula and Liao dynasty also all have derived their names. The river is also popularly known as the "mother river" in Northeast China. Coursing 1,345 kilometres (836 mi) long, the Liao River system drains a catchment basin of over 232,000 square kilometres (90,000 sq mi), but its mean discharge is quite small at only about 500 cubic metres per second (18,000 cu ft/s), about one-twentieth that of the Pearl River. The Liao River has an exceedingly high sediment load because many parts of it flow through powdery loess.
A river island is any exposed land surrounded by river water. Properly defined it excludes shoals between seasonally varying flows and may exclude semi-coastal islands such as in deltas.
Boneyard Creek is a 3.3-mile-long (5.3 km) waterway that drains much of the cities of Champaign and Urbana, Illinois. It is a tributary of the Saline Branch of the Salt Fork Vermilion River, which is a tributary of the south-flowing Vermilion River and the Wabash River. The creek flows through the northern sections of the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The newsletter of the university's ACM chapter is Banks of the Boneyard, named after the creek.
The Kaweah River is a river draining the southern Sierra Nevada in Tulare County, California in the United States. Fed primarily by high elevation snowmelt along the Great Western Divide, the Kaweah begins as four forks in Sequoia National Park, where the watershed is noted for its alpine scenery and its dense concentrations of giant sequoias, the largest trees on Earth. It then flows in a southwest direction to Lake Kaweah – the only major reservoir on the river – and into the San Joaquin Valley, where it diverges into multiple channels across an alluvial plain around Visalia. With its Middle Fork headwaters starting at almost 13,000 feet (4,000 m) above sea level, the river has a vertical drop of nearly two and a half miles (4.0 km) on its short run to the San Joaquin Valley, making it one of the steepest river drainages in the United States. Although the main stem of the Kaweah is only 33.6 miles (54.1 km) long, its total length including headwaters and lower branches is nearly 100 miles (160 km).
The Millers River is a 52.1-mile-long (83.8 km) river in northern Massachusetts, originating in Ashburnham and joining the Connecticut River just downstream from Millers Falls, Massachusetts. The river was formerly known as Paquag or Baquag, a Nipmuc word meaning "clear water". Sections of the river are used for whitewater kayaking, and a section upriver is popular with flatwater racers.
The Xiliao or West Liao River is a river in Inner Mongolia and Liaoning province, in northeast China. Its source is the Xilamulun River in Inner Mongolia. It is one of the headwaters of the Liao River.
In geomorphology, drainage systems, also known as river systems, are the patterns formed by the streams, rivers, and lakes in a particular drainage basin. They are governed by the topography of the land, whether a particular region is dominated by hard or soft rocks, and the gradient of the land. Geomorphologists and hydrologists often view streams as being part of drainage basins. A drainage basin is the topographic region from which a stream receives runoff, throughflow, and groundwater flow. The number, size, and shape of the drainage basins found in an area vary and the larger the topographic map, the more information on the drainage basin is available.
A stream is a body of water with surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. The flow of a stream is controlled by three inputs - surface water, subsurface water and groundwater. The surface and subsurface water are highly variable between periods of rainfall. Groundwater, on the other hand, has a relatively constant input and is controlled more by long-term patterns of precipitation. The stream encompasses surface, subsurface and groundwater fluxes that respond to geological, geomorphological, hydrological and biotic controls.
The Willamette River is a 187-mile (301 km) tributary of the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Oregon. The upper tributaries of the Willamette originate in mountains south and southeast of the twin cities of Eugene and Springfield. Formed by the confluence of the Middle Fork Willamette River and Coast Fork Willamette River near Springfield, the main stem meanders generally north from source to mouth. The river's two most significant course deviations occur at Newberg, where the stream turns sharply east, and about 18 miles (29 km) downriver from Newberg, where it turns north again. Near its mouth, the river splits into two channels that flow around Sauvie Island. The main channel enters the Columbia about 101 miles (163 km) from the larger stream's mouth on the Pacific Ocean, and the smaller Multnomah Channel enters the Columbia about 14.5 miles (23.3 km) further downstream near St. Helens in Columbia County.
The South Fork Coquille River is the longest tributary of the Coquille River in coastal Oregon in the United States. From its headwaters in the Southern Oregon Coast Range, the river flows northwest to join the North Fork Coquille River at Myrtle Point, forming the main stem Coquille. The South Fork is about 63 miles (101 km) long, and its watershed drains roughly 288 square miles (750 km2) of rural Coos County.
Chino Creek is a major stream of the Pomona Valley, in the western Inland Empire region of Southern California. It is a tributary of the Santa Ana River.
Beaver Creek is a tributary of the Crooked River in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is formed by the confluence of its two forks in southeastern Crook County, a sparsely populated part of Central Oregon. North Fork Beaver Creek flows south and then west around Laughlin Table. South Fork Beaver Creek drains the slopes of Snow Mountain and Funny Butte in southwestern Grant County before joining the North Fork.
The Raft River is a stream located entirely within the Quinault Indian Reservation in Grays Harbor County, on the Olympic Peninsula, in the U.S. state of Washington. The river and its tributaries flow west from the Olympic Mountains and empty into the Pacific Ocean. It is situated a few miles north of the Quinault River and a few miles south of the Queets River.