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6 Oldest Rivers in the USA

Though the USA is younger for a rustic, the landmass itself may be very outdated. Because of this, among the oldest rivers on the planet are discovered on this nation. Figuring out this, now we have to ask some questions. For instance, how can we inform how outdated a river is? What are the oldest rivers in the USA? We’re going to take a detailed have a look at the character of rivers and reply each of these questions by displaying you six exceptionally outdated rivers in the USA.

What’s a River?

Rivers are used as a water supply and transportation for billions of individuals worldwide.

J. M. Pavlic III/

Rivers are our bodies of water with particular properties. For instance, rivers are transferring our bodies of water that movement from one space to an outlet, normally into a bigger physique of water. They don’t seem to be landlocked, however they’re certain by their riverbanks. Most rivers are utterly freshwater, however some have a excessive quantity of salinity, particularly people who have retailers within the sea or oceans.  

The world is residence to a whole lot of main rivers and lots of extra small ones. Despite the fact that a few of these rivers are huge, they solely account for 0.49% of all floor freshwater!

Figuring out the Age of the Oldest Rivers in the USA

The Longest Rivers in the United States - Catawba River
Scientists should have a look at close by geological formations to find out a river’s age.

John C Davis III/

How can we are saying with any certainty the age of the oldest rivers in the USA? The reality is that figuring out the ages of rivers requires educated guesswork as a substitute of a selected type of measurement. Scientists have a look at geological disturbances which have taken place within the rivers’ areas over time.

They will decide with some certainty the period by which the river got here into being based on the slow-moving geological processes at work. Since rivers typically type in valleys between rivers, the river’s age could be deduced by inspecting the age of the mountain-forming occasions and different geological exercise within the space.

As we glance farther again in time, the understanding of the river’s particular age begins to wane. People don’t have a exact timeline for all these historic occasions. As you will note on this listing, lots of the estimated formation occasions range by tens of thousands and thousands of years for that reason.

Now that you know the way scientists provide you with the ages of a river, we will begin to take a look at the oldest rivers in the USA.  

The 6 Oldest Rivers in the USA

Oldest Rivers - Finke River
The Finke River is acknowledged because the oldest river in your complete world.


As mentioned earlier, the USA is residence to among the oldest rivers on the planet. A number of of them are a whole lot of thousands and thousands of years in age. Others are a lot newer, and a few are very troublesome to age accurately. Let’s check out the six oldest rivers in the USA and present their ages!

6. Ohio River: 2.5-3 Million Years In the past

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Many cities exist alongside the Ohio River.

ESB Skilled/

The Ohio River is believed to have shaped someplace between 2.5 and three million years in the past. The reason for this river’s formation was the damming of the Teays River by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The river water from the Teays River may not attain its outflow, so it started to empty to the south and ultimately shaped this river.

The Ohio River’s outflow is the Mississippi River, one other huge river community in the USA.  

5. Columbia River: 6-17 Million Years Previous

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Situated on the west coast of the USA, the Columbia River has the largest outflow into the Pacific Ocean.

The Columbia River is between 6 and 17 million years outdated, and it flows from elements of Canada by means of the state of Washington after which a few of Oregon earlier than reaching its outlet within the Pacific Ocean. The Columbia River was shaped by means of important volcanic exercise that impacted the Pacific Northwest.

Finally, the Columbia Plateau was altered to such a terrific extent that the Columbia River took on its current course.  

4. Colorado River: 75 Million Years Previous

12 Prettiest Rivers In the United States - August 20, 2022
The Colorado River runs by means of the Grand Canyon.


The Colorado River is without doubt one of the largest rivers in the USA and the fourth oldest. This river is most well-known for operating by means of the Grand Canyon, and it was shaped throughout the identical occasion that created the Rocky Mountains.

Thankfully, the geological transformations within the space left an excessive amount of proof as to the period by which they have been created. Because of this, the age of this river is considerably extra mounted than others.  

3. French Broad River: 320-340 Million Years Previous

Largest River in North Carolina - French Broad River
Situated in North Carolina, the French Broad River is thought for being one of many oldest our bodies of water.

Dominick Aprile/

The French Broad River may doubtlessly be the oldest of all of the rivers in the USA, however some proof suggests it was created nearer to the 320 million years in the past mark than the 340 million years in the past mark.

Curiously, the French Broad River, Susquehanna River, and New River all run by means of the identical mountain vary, the Appalachian Mountains, however in numerous areas. The French Broad River ultimately drains into the Tennessee River.  

2. Susquehanna River: 260-325 Million Years Previous

Oldest Rivers - Susquehanna River
Together with being a really lengthy river, the Susquehanna River is without doubt one of the oldest in the USA.

Jayce Wyatt Images/

The Susquehanna River is roughly the identical age because the New River, someplace between 260 and 325 million years outdated. This river was shaped throughout the identical geological occasion that made the French Broad River and the New River.

The Susquehanna River is a really lengthy river. Finally, it lets out into the Chesapeake Bay after touring by means of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

1. New River: 260-325 Million Years Previous

New River Gorge National Park
You could find many stunning views alongside the New River.

Gestalt Imagery/

The New River is the oldest river in the USA. Nevertheless, as you may see from the highest three oldest rivers within the nation, the New River may very properly be older or newer than the Susquehanna River and the French Broad River.

Nonetheless, most consultants agree that the New River is the oldest within the nation, and it was developed in the course of the Alleghenian orogeny. That places the river at someplace between 260 million years of age and 325 million years of age. This can be a very outdated river, and it’s believed to be the third oldest river on the planet.

The US is residence to many giant river techniques and a number of other outdated ones, too. The geology on this a part of the world is noteworthy and infrequently stunning. Now that we all know among the oldest lakes in the USA, we will see that the rivers run the gamut in age. From 325 million years to lower than 3 million years, this space has rivers of all ages!

Up Subsequent…

Preserve studying! We expect you’ll like these different pages about rivers.

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