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Difference Between Stream and River

Stream vs River

Life on earth is dependent very much on water bodies. Rivers and streams form a major part of water used by mankind in the form of irrigation, food, energy, drinking, and transportation. But not many know the difference between streams and rivers as they consider them as interchangeable. However, this is not so and there are many differences between a stream and a river that will be discussed in this article.

A vast majority of rivers originate in hills and mountains or are formed as a result of melting glaciers. Rain water and melting snow fall down the mountains in the form of multiple streams that meet at a confluence where the water body becomes large and gets transformed into a river. This water forces down because of gravity and finally becomes slow on reaching the ground.

Streams are small water bodies existing by themselves but add up when they meet to form a large river. Streams are shallower than rivers and some of the streams are such that one can easily walk through or pick up if he drops and object accidentally into it. Despite carrying smaller amount of water, streams are very turbulent because of falling from great heights. They have great erosion powers and erode sediments that they carry along with them into river. River carries this sediment into larger water bodies such as ocean or a lake.

In brief:

Difference Between Stream and River

• Streams are fast flowing water bodies that originate in mountains because of rain water or melting glaciers.

• When two streams meet, the smaller one is called a tributary.

• The place where many streams meet to form a large water body called river is referred to as confluence.

• Streams are shallower than rivers

• Streams are more turbulent and aggressive than rivers

• Streams erode stones, sculpt the surface of the earth and carry the sediment into rivers that carry all the sediment into oceans and lakes.


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