Parts of a River


A watershed is an area of high water, going to low water, and into a larger body of water.

This explains a watershed

This image explains the function of a watershed.


A source is where the water starts.

A rain cloud is an example of a source

A rain cloud is where the water starts before the whole water system begins.


A delta/mouth is the end of  the river and opening to a large body of water.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

This image shows Sacramento and San Joaquin's Bay-Delta.

Great Basin

A great basin is a watershed where water doesn't flow to the ocean.

Great Basin

The image shows the areas of a great basin.


A divide separates watersheds from  one another


A head water is an extreme upper reach of a stream.

Picture by

The picture shows a head water with no sunlight peaking through


A downriver is between headwaters and floodplains.

The image shows Niagara Falls's downriver between a head water and a flood plain.


A tributary is a river or stream that flows into a mainstream.

The image shows a tributary flowing into a mainstream, or in this case, a river.


A confluence is a place where two rivers meet.

In the picture, the V shaped land is the confluence.


A floodplain is the relatively flat land adjacent to a river channel that's underwater when a river floods.

The image shows that when the river flooded, the floodplain went underwater.


An estuary is the area where a river meets the sea or ocean where fresh water from the river meets the salt water from the sea.

The video explains what an estuary is.

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