Rivers have been the lifeline of civilization from time immemorial. Wherever the river meets the land, it has always resulted in the birth of great civilizations; many of them were even named after these rivers, like the Indus valley civilization and the Moche civilization to name a few. Though life-giving to the entire environment surrounding it, they have been also mighty forces of destruction with their sheer size in volume; some of them even drowning whole landmasses overnight. The size of a river is determined the average discharge of water per second and the drainage basin area. Though many famed rivers such as the Nile are worthy competitors, they don’t even come close to the sheer size of the following ten, because these 10 giants are visible even from space.
10. Lena River
Originating from the Baikal Mountains in the central Siberian plateau, the Lena River is the greatest one yet with all her boundaries inside the Russian territory. It starts at an altitude of 1,640 meters (5,381 ft.) flowing over the entire Siberian plateau, covering a range of 4,472 km; that makes it the 11th longest river as well. It drains into the Arctic Ocean and the Laptev Sea, forming the legendary Lena delta with a basin area of 2,490,000 square kilometers (961,394 sq. mi), where mammoth tusks and Gold are often found. The river Lena has a rather odd peculiarity, though it’s only the 11th longest, when viewed from above, it looks longer than both the Amazon and the Nile due its location near the Arctic.
9. Yenisei River
Another of the greats to join from the Siberian plateau is the Yenisei River. It is the central one of the three great Siberian Rivers; and to its might it discharges an average 19,600 cubic meter per second in to the Arctic Ocean. It is the largest river that drains into the Atlantic Ocean, originating all the way from Mongolia and covering most of central Russia. Yenisei River is the lifeline of modern Russian industries; with a number of huge hydroelectric dams constructed across it, it provides for most of the electricity needs in Central Russia. It has also been the birth place of many civilizations, in Russia and Mongolia. In the Second World War, the Germans and the Japanese divided the Asian continent along its path to China.
8. Paraná River
The river that’s aptly name by the ancient Tupi people, is the 8th largest giant to flow through the land. The Paraná River, which literally means “Like the sea” in the Tupi language, flows over the plains of south Central South America; originating from Brazil and passing through Paraguay and Argentina, covering a stretch of 4880 km. The might of the river is exemplified by the Itapi Dam built across, at the borders of Paraguay; it’s second largest dam in the world, providing for much of the electricity to all the surrounding underdeveloped nations. The river is completely navigable and serves as an important trade route to the major cities located at its basins. The photograph shows the might of the river seen even from space.
7. The Rio Negro
Flowing over the ever mysterious land of Central South America; this is one of those rivers which can actually make your hair stand up at the mere sight of it. As the name suggests, the river is famed for its black colored tint when looked from afar; it’s not that it’s contaminated but it’s due to all the swamps and vegetation decays. It has its sources from Colombia in the North and proceeds on flowing over a stretch of 2,230 km to meet the Amazon River. During the summer, it’s warm and inviting, even allowing you to navigate its entire stretch, but as rains begins, it grows mighty enough to flood everything it meets up to a width of 30 km.
6. Madeira River
Made up of many large rivers contributing their basins to form this giant, The Madeira is the sixth largest river in our top ten. The river is so huge, that, it even allows ocean vessels to track through it in the wet periods. It has a drainage area of 85000 square kilometers, which is equivalent to the landmass of France and Spain put together; imagine that for a size! Also the river has the highest species richness of any River; it has up to 750 – 800 species of fish thriving on it.
5. Yangtze River
The only second player form Asia, in the list of largest rivers; the Yangtze River is without doubt the most magnificent of them all. Originating from the icy glaciers of Tibet, The Yangtze stretches all the way from there to its eastern most point in china – the Shanghai. The Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world; it has many a times been confused with the great wall, when looked from outer space. The basin of the river is so huge that, one third of the People’s Republic of China lives in her Basins.
4. Orinoco River
The second longest river in the South American continent, the Orinoco River is the lifeline to the people of Venezuela and Colombia. Its drainage basin extends over an area of 880,000 square kilometers, forming innumerable tributaries, and branching off in to a number of rivers and waterways, that flow through 41,000 square kilometers of swampy forests of the Amazon. It has is sources both at the Parima mountain range and the Venezuelan- Brazilian border. The river and its basins provide the major source of transportation to the people of Venezuela and Colombia.
3. Congo River
The only giant from the African Continent might be only the third largest in the world in terms of discharge. But in other terms you better pray that you never fall off into this river; because by depth, this is the deepest river in the world with depths ranging over 760 feet. The Congo is also the 9th longest river in the World, which makes it a major line of transport for a continent that has barely enough roads in its cities. The Congo River also has an enormous potential for hydroelectric power; when used at its full potential, it can even provide up to 13% of the total hydro power of the world.
2. The River Ganges
The sacred river of India – the Ganges is our second largest river by volume. The Trans boundary river of India and Bangladesh, rises from the Western Himalayas, flowing through the Gangetic Plain and discharging through the basins in Bangladesh, into the Bay of Bengal. The basins of the river are the most densely populated regions of any river, with over 400 million people residing at its basins. The River has both Religious and Historical importance in India, though being polluted every day, the river is slowly turning into a swamp.
1. The Mighty Amazon
You don’t need to be an ace in Geography to know, that Amazon is the largest river of them all; but here are the facts that might refresh your memory up. The Mighty Amazon River stretches all the way across the central South American continent; starting from Brazil and covering up Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. It’s also the second longest river in the world, with a drainage area of a whopping 7,050,000 square kilometers – that’s the largest in the entire world. Also the discharge of the river is larger than all the other giants put together; now consider that for size.