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Drainage Basins of the World’s Longest Rivers
Most of the earth’s surface is covered in water, but less than 1% of it is the fresh water that makes up the rivers and lakes we’re familiar with.
The water we encounter in life is moving through the stages of the water cycle. And even though rivers make up a tiny portion of all fresh water, they’re still one of the most visible parts of that cycle, especially for the billions of people who live in cities and towns built alongside them.
Of course, rivers don’t just appear out of nowhere. They’re the end result of water’s land-based journey–the product of many compounding inflows collected within a drainage basin.
The map above, from Reddit user r/CountZapolai, illustrates how massive the drainage basins can be for the world’s longest rivers.
What is a Drainage Basin?
A river’s drainage basin is defined as the area of land where precipitation collects and drains off, feeding the flow of rivers and their tributaries. Simply put, this is the process of water draining from higher points of land to lower laying areas–as demonstrated by the animation below.
In the case the world’s longest rivers, these drainage basins can span across entire continents and cross many international borders.
Fueling the World’s Longest Rivers
The longer a river system gets, the more terrain it passes through. It comes as no surprise then that the longest rivers are supported by immense (Read more...)