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SRS Crisafulli Survey: Silty Rivers of the World

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SRS Crisafulli Survey: Silty Rivers of the World


In Steven Solomon's book Water, The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization, he lists some of the world's siltiest rivers.  Which river do you think is the most silty?  Let's take a closer look at 5 silty rivers.

A quick search on Wikipedia revealed the following data.

The Colorado River
The Colorado River is the principal river of the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. The 1,450-mile (2,330 km) river is a vital source of water for agricultural and urban areas in the southwestern desert lands of North America. The river and its tributaries are controlled by an extensive system of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts, which furnish water for irrigation and municipal supplies of almost 40 million people both inside and outside the watershed.

The Colorado's steep drop through its gorges is also utilized for the generation of significant hydroelectric power, and its major dams regulate peaking power demands in much of the Intermountain West. Since the mid-20th century, intensive water consumption has dewatered the lower course of the river such that it no longer reaches the sea except in years of heavy runoff.

The Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is 6,650 km (4,130 miles) long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.

The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The Blue Nile is the source of most of the water and fertile soil.  The northern section of the river flows almost entirely through desert, from Sudan into Egypt, a country whose civilization has depended on the river since ancient times.

The Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly spelled Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China after the Yangtze and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 kilometers (3,395 mi).  Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into the Bohai Sea.

Frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed, sometimes above the level of its surrounding fields, has also earned it the name \'China's Sorrow.\' 


The Yangtze
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third longest in the world. It flows for 6,418 kilometres (3,988 mi) from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the biggest rivers by discharge volume in the world. The Yangtze drains one-fifth of the land area of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and its river basin is home to one-third of the PRC's population.

The prosperous Yangtze River Delta generates as much as 20% of the PRC's GDP.  For thousands of years, man has used the river for water, irrigation, sanitation, transportation, industry, boundary-marking and war. The Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world.  In recent years, the river has suffered from industrial pollution, agricultural run-off, siltation, and loss of wetland and lakes, which exacerbates seasonal flooding.

The Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River  is a tributary of the Missouri River, approximately 692 miles (1,114 km) long, in the western United States. Considered the principal tributary of the upper Missouri, the river and its tributaries drain a wide area stretching from the Rocky Mountains in the vicinity of the Yellowstone National Park across the mountains and high plains of southern Montana and northern Wyoming.

In Montana the river has been used extensively for irrigation since the 1860s. In its upper reaches, within Yellowstone Park and the mountains of Montana, it is a popular destination for fly fishing. 


Which of our 5 rivers do you think is the world's siltiest river? (Choose one below.)

The Colorado

 The Nile

The Yellow

 The Yangtze

The Yellowstone

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