The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources explains that there is no official distinction between streams and rivers, but streams are commonly held to be smaller bodies of water that feed into larger bodies, namely rivers. Both streams and rivers possess currents and are somewhat narrow, or they are at least constrained between two banks.
Despite the lack of an official distinction, there are some accepted ways to classify streams and rivers. In 1952, Professor Arthur Strahler of Columbia University devised a 12-part identification system for streams. According to this system, first order streams, which are often referred to as creeks, are the smallest and shallowest, whereas 12th order streams are the largest and deepest. Bodies of water classified as seventh order or higher are considered rivers.
If multiple streams converge at one point to form a larger, singular body of water, that feature is most often large enough to be a river. The spot at which those streams come together is a confluence.
Despite differences in size, streams and rivers share many similarities. Both typically originate in hills or mountains and can be created due to the melting of a glacier or excessive rain or snow. Both streams and rivers also contribute to erosion by carrying sediment downstream, wearing down rocks and other materials on the banks.Learn More
At its deepest point, the Danube River is about 26.25 feet deep, while at its shallowest, it reaches a depth of approximately 2 feet. At its widest point, the river has about 4,921 feet between each bank.Full Answer >
The Mississippi River is important due to its necessity in American commerce. Cities such as New Orleans, St. Louis and Minneapolis all get water from the river.Full Answer >
A river starts on high ground, usually in hills or mountains, where water collects and flows together to form streams. When many streams come together, they are called a river. The place where the river starts is called its source.Full Answer >
Though rivers have flowed across what is now the Mississippi River basin for millions of years, the modern river emerged from the drainage of melting glaciers around 12,000 years ago. The Mississippi has shifted course continuously since then, and its course remains erratic and unpredictable.Full Answer >