Education Learning

Why Do Some Rivers Flow Faster Than Others?

There are thousands of rivers across the world. But have we ever noticed that some rivers flow faster than other, the rate of flow of all the rivers is not same. In fact, sometimes the same river flows at a different speed at different places. Why is that so? Why does it happens? What are the factors behind this phenomenon?

The rate at which a river flow determines the velocity of that river and it ranges from 0 m/s to 3m/s. Even with the speed of 4900 m3/s, the Atrato River exists in Columbia.  Also, if you are curious to know more about the factors behind the altering speed of speed of rivers then in this article, we will try to explore the answers of all the queries about it, so read the complete article.

Shape Of The Channel Of The River

Shape Of The Channel Of The River

The rate of flow of the river is highly affected by the shape of the river which plays an important part in it. When a river faces a narrow channel, it produces a kind of friction around the river’s perimeter when the river flows against its edges, sides and also along its river bed. So the rate of flow is decreased. On a contrary, when the river water flows through a channel that is deep and wide, it faces less resistance and the result is a fast flow of water.

In short, we can say that when the river flows through a shallow and narrow channel, the edges of the river create friction and slow down the water. And when it flows from the deep and wide channel it flows faster as it faces less friction, however, the center part of the river keeps flowing even under unfavorable channel conditions at the possible highest speed.

Volume Of The Water

volume of the water

One major factor behind the rate of the river is the volume of water that flows through the channel at the given period of time. As the water volume increases in the channel, its speed is automatically increased. Hence we can also say that volume is directly proportional to the speed of water. Not just the rate of flow, volume can also have long-term effects. Soil erosion is one of the major effects that is caused by the flow of the water along the bank of the river, hence, the result is a deeper and wider river channel. Also, as a result, water flows at a high speed.

Roughness And Smoothness

roughness of river water

In a rough channel rocks and pebbles can cause an interruption in the flow of river water. These are placed into the channel or can be at the sides of the river. These are the major cause of frictions resulting a slower speed of flow of water. On the other side, when the river is smooth, it means that it has few pebbles and rocks so there is less friction and hence it will cause the faster flow of the water.


gradient of river channel

As we know, the gradient is referred to the slope or steepness. When the river flows through a steeper slope, due to the gravitational force of earth, the water is pulled down more forcefully, so the water falls faster. If it flows down through a slope that is not much steeper, it will flow with a lesser speed and velocity as compared to the previous case.

Temperature of the river water

Temperature of the river water

The hot water has less viscosity as compared to cold water that is why river with high temperature flows faster than low-temperature water. We can conclude that speed is also proportional to the temperature as hot water contains less suspended particles.

I hope you liked my post about the speed of rivers and if you have any query then write it down in the comments sections. For more articles of your interest, you may visit Education category at TryArticles.


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