Wander by the River | God's World News
Wander by the River
Science Soup
Posted: January 01, 2024
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    Learn the names for the parts of a river. (stock)
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    People fish in the Teign Estuary in Shaldon, Devon, England, as the Sun sets. (AP/Tony Hicks)
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    The Mississippi River forms a triangle shape as it spills into the Gulf of Mexico. That area is called the Mississippi River Delta. (Public domain)
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    The Douro river mouth is seen from the Crystal Palace gardens in Porto, Portugal. (AP/Armando Franca)
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    The River of Five Colors in Colombia can appear many hues due to the plants in the water. (Pedro Szekely/CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)
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What can run but never walks, has a mouth but never talks, has a head but never weeps, has a bed but never sleeps?

A river!

A river’s mouth is where it flows into a larger body of water such as a bigger river, lake, or the sea. Fly over the mouth of the Mississippi River. It forms a triangle shape as it spills into the Gulf of Mexico. That is the fertile delta, rich with sediment. Look for patches of green plants growing in the triangle.

A river head is the source, where the water begins on land. The head is at the opposite end of the river from the mouth. (What if your mouth was at the opposite end from your head?!)

You may thrash around in bed. A river thrashes around on the bed of ground it flows over. River beds are channels usually filled with silt, sand, and rocks. When you wade in a shallow river, pick up a rock. You may find a crawdad or salamander hiding underneath.

An estuary is a section where salty seawater mixes with fresh water. This brackish water forms near a river mouth. After the estuary, a river joins an ocean. The ocean can creep up the river bed during a drought and make normally fresh water salty.

Fun River Facts

The two longest rivers are the Nile in Africa and the Amazon in South America. Both flow over 4,000 miles. The Amazon carries more water than any other river.

Most of us think of rivers as brownish-green. Blackwater rivers in swamps and wetlands can look like dark tea. The River of Five Colors in Colombia can appear red, yellow, green, blue, and black. Plants in the river go through different stages. They make a liquid rainbow.

For more on rivers and journeys following them, see Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O'Dell in our Recommended Reading.