Rivers are very critical in shaping the history of this world. The majority of old and highly developed societies have been forming and growing along some of these rivers. Besides this, these rivers have been witnessing the rise and fall of various empires, and also many of the fights that have been won and lost. Rivers are very useful to humankind since they provide a source of food, drinking water, means of transporting valuables from one country to another and also provide land that is fertile. They are also a home to various animals. I will take you through the top ten largest rivers on earth by rank regarding the length, drainage area, and their average discharge.
10. The Amur River
Length (km): 4,444
Drainage area (km²): 1,855,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 11,400
Amur River is in number ten of the largest rivers in the world and the most prominent in the Federation of Russia. It is found on the border of Russia and China. It has a length of approximately 4,444 km. Amur has 200 tributaries, but the main ones that are on the left are; Bureya, Zeya, Amgen, and Shilka while those that are on the right are; Ergune, Huma, Songhua, and Ussuri. It is a home to numerous birds and especially the Oriental White Stalks and also the Kaluga sturgeon that capsizes fishing boats and drowns fishers. The river also has over 120 species of fish.
9. Congo River
Length (km): 4,700
Drainage area (km²): 3,680,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 41,800
Besides been the 9th amongst world’s largest rivers. It is also the deepest river with a depth of approximately 230 m on earth, and it was earlier known as Zaire River. It is about 4,700 km long, and its drainage basin is 3,680,000 kilometers squares by the amount of water released, it is the ninth longest river on earth. Its drainage basin covers an area of approximately 3,680,000 square kilometers. The river flows through the second-largest rainforest in the world.
8. Parana River
Length (km): 4,880
Drainage area (km²): 2,582,672
Average discharge (m³/s): 18,000
On earth, it is at number eight of the largest rivers with a drainage area of around 2,582,672 km2 and a discharge of 18,000 m3. It has a length of about 3,030 miles, and it is found in South America. Parana river originates from the language of Tupi, and it means “like the sea.” it flows through three countries namely Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Among South American rivers, it is in second place after the Amazon River. It combines with river Paraguay first and then with river Uruguay in the downstream forming the Rio de la Plata. Parana River then flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
7. Ob River
Length (km): 5,410
Drainage area (km²): 2,990,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 12,800
This river is the 7th largest rivers in the world. It has a length of approximately 5,410 km and a 2,990,000 km drainage area with a discharge of around 12,800 m per second. It is one of the Siberian Rivers that flows into the Arctic Ocean. In Altai Krai southwest of Biysk at the confluence of rivers Biya and Katun, it forms 16 miles. It is divided into three parts depending on the nature of its network, water regime formation, and supply conditions. The top is found in the mountains, and its principal tributaries are; Anouilh, Aley, Sandy, Katun, Biya, and Charysh.
6. Yellow River
Length (km): 5,464
Drainage area (km²): 745,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 2,110
It is the 6th largest rivers on earth and the 2nd longest river in China. It has a length of approximately 5,464 km and a drainage area of 745,000 square kilometers and an average discharge of about 2,110 cubic meters per second. The headwaters lie in the Kunlun Mountains that found in the province of Qinghai on the northwestern side. Along the Bohai Sea, it passes via nine governorates. The river’s upper section starts in the province of Qinghai to Hekouzhen. People in this area use water from this river for irrigation. It ends in a delta on the Bohai Sea.
5. Yenisei River
Length (km): 5,539
Drainage area (km²): 2,580,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 19,600
It is the 5th biggest river and the second largest in China with a length of about 5,539 kilometers and a drainage area of approximately 2,580,000 square kilometers and an average discharge of 19,600 cubic meters per second. It is called yellow river because of its muddy water that is ochre yellow and annually, it carries approximately 1.6 million tons of silt that is very fertile and supports half of China’s cotton and wheat.
4. Mississippi River
Length (km): 6,275
Drainage area (km²): 2,980,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 16,200
It is the fourth largest river, and it flows in the entire United States; Mississippi River flows in a twisted turn slowly for 2,320 miles southwards and rises in the western Minnesota. The main tributaries are the Missouri river that is in the west and the Ohio River that is in the East. It drains into 31 states in the US and two provinces from Canada. It is also one of the most active commercial waterways on earth, with a lot of modification and human control.
3. Yangtze River
Length (km): 6,300
Drainage area (km²): 1,800,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 31,900
Yangtze is the third largest river and the largest in China, and it is a fascinating river, with a broad range of sites that attract tourists, culture, and scenery along its length. It is approximately 6,300 km long with a drainage area of 1,800,000 kilometer square and an average discharge of 31,900 cubic meters per second. Yangtze originates from Tanggula and in western China in a province called Qinghai and passes through eleven other areas namely; Shanghai, Chongqing, Yunnan, Hunan, Tibet, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Hubei, Qinghai, and Anhui. It drains into the East China Sea.
2. Nile River
Length (km): 6,853
Drainage area (km²): 3,254,555
Average discharge (m³/s): 2,800
Nile River is the world’s second largest river with a length of 6,853 kilometers, a drainage area of approximately 3,254,555 kilometers square and an average discharge of 2,800 cubic meters per square. It flows through the desert of Sahara and pours its water into the Mediterranean Sea. It has got only two tributaries: the Blue Nile in Ethiopia and the White Nile in Rwanda which meets at Sudan. Main settlements around this river are Luxor, Khartoum, Cairo, and Aswan. It also flows through eleven countries namely: Kenya, Sudan, Burundi, South Sudan, Congo, Eritrea, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Egypt, and Ethiopia.
The Nile is generally regarded as the world’s longest river, however other conflicting sources cite a 2007 study that gave the title to the Amazon River in South America (source).
1. Amazon River
Length (km): 6,992
Drainage area (km²): 7,050,000
Average discharge (m³/s): 209,000
It is the world’s largest river with regards to its width and volume reaching a distance of almost 30 miles in some areas when it rains. The river is a home to a wide variety of fish species, trees, plants, and animals. It has a length of approximately 6,992 kilometers, a drainage area of around 7,050,000 kilometer square and an average discharge area of 209,000 cubic meters per second with its first outflow being the Atlantic Ocean.
However, climate change is having an enormous impact on our rivers. Also it is a significant threat to the river resources and the supply of water to billions of people all over the world. Global warming has contributed significantly to water shortage all over the world regarding drought, and therefore a lot of action should be implemented to stop further damage to our precious rivers.