Drainage Basin Landforms

Drainage Basin

Drainage Basin Landforms Have 2 Main Characteristics:

  1. All the water provided for the river
  2. Exits from the river at a single point

Example of a Drainage Basin Landform:

Amazon River, South America
The drainage basin picture above is of the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

What is a Drainage Basin Landform?

A drainage basin is the area of land that provides all water for a river that eventually exits to another body of water (another river, a lake, sea or ocean).  The exit is the end of the drainage basin and is also referred as a watershed and catchment area.
This includes water from rain and melting snow. For example, all water in the Missouri River drainage basin exits to the Mississippi River. The Missouri River drainage basin is a part of the Mississippi River drainage basin, which exits to the Gulf of Mexico.

How are Drainage Basins Formed?

A drainage basin is formed by the action of water as it forms streams and rivers that flow downhill.

How Large is a Drainage Basin?

A drainage basin depends upon the size of the river and its tributaries. The Mississippi River Drainage Basin includes all or part of 31 states and two Canadian provinces.

Where Can a Drainage Basin Be Found?

All rivers and streams have a drainage basin.

Famous Drainage Basins

• Amazon River, South America
• Congo River, Africa
• Mississippi River, North America

The Amazon River has the largest drainage basin in the world, covering the Amazon rainforest and a large portion of South America. The average total amount of water leaving the Amazon River is more than the next 7 largest rivers combined. 20% of the worlds fresh water flows through the Amazon on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

The second largest drainage basin feeds the Congo River of Africa from an area that includes the second largest rainforest in the world. The Congo also has the second largest discharge of water, after the Amazon River and is the world’s deepest river at 720 feet.

The Mississippi River Drainage Basin is the fourth largest in area, after the Nile River Drainage Basin. The Mississippi also has the fourth largest discharge of water, after the Rio de la Plata in South America.

Drainage Basin definition:

The area of land feeding all water that enters a river, leaving at a discharge point to another body of water.

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