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Geography

Background to rivers

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Terminology for the study of rivers

  • Drainage basin - the area of land drained by a river.
  • Catchment area - the area within the drainage basin.
  • Watershed - the edge of highland surrounding a drainage basin. It marks the boundary between two drainage basins.
  • Source - The beginning or start of a river.
  • Confluence - the point at which two rivers or streams join.
  • Tributary - a stream or smaller river which joins a larger stream or river.
  • Mouth - the point where the river comes to the end, usually when entering a sea.
Diagram showing the key features of a river

Key features of a river

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Back to Water and rivers index

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