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Why Do Rivers Stream South? (Uncover 5 Rivers that Break the “Rule”)

Rivers are wondrous our bodies of water that may measure miles throughout and 1000’s of miles in size. Many rivers have headwaters and tributaries within the mountains, and it may be tempting to think about all rivers as flowing south from northern peaks. In consequence, many individuals have requested, “why do rivers stream south?” We’ll reply that query, dispel some myths, and offer you among the most distinguished rivers that stream in different instructions!

Why Do Rivers Stream South?

Rivers stream in all instructions as a result of they comply with the trail of least resistance.

Realest Nature/

The concept that all rivers stream south is mistaken pondering that usually stems from individuals pondering that water flows in the direction of the south as a result of they equate the course with “down.” In any other case, they may have a river with a south stream close to them. For instance, some People could take a look at the stream of the Mississippi River to buttress their mistaken beliefs that each one rivers stream south.

One other mistaken perception that some individuals have is that rivers acquire their water from the ocean. Within the case of the Nile River, taking a look at a map may make one assume that the river obtains its water from the ocean.

Nevertheless, in case you think about the character of water, you possibly can simply decide the reality of the state of affairs. That’s exactly what we’re going to discover within the subsequent state of affairs.

What Determines the Means a River Flows?

Oldest Rivers - Finke River
Rivers stream downhill, not essentially south.


Gravity is the last word figuring out drive when it comes to water stream. Water will stream downhill from the very best level to the bottom level utilizing the trail of least resistance. Typically, that may make the water stream to the east, west, or north as a substitute of south.

Other than gravity, you must think about the realm’s topography when attempting to find out a river’s course. Typically a river will stream southward and run into a big mountain vary. As an alternative of flowing straight over that mountain, the water would take a path round it. As soon as once more, that new path would vastly depend upon the terrain, erosion over time, and extra.

Rivers change the way in which they stream on a regular basis resulting from modifications in terrain. For instance, the Mississippi River was poised to start flowing into the Atchafalaya River resulting from such modifications. Nevertheless, human intervention led to the event of a floodgate system to stop that from occurring.

All in all, rivers stream downhill towards the bottom level, which may be any course, relying on the panorama.

Rivers That Do Not Stream South

Many rivers around the globe don’t stream south. In truth, among the most well-known rivers on the earth don’t stream south. We’re going to take a look at 5 totally different rivers that stream in all types of instructions. By the point we’re carried out right here, you’ll see how rivers can stream east, west, north, and south!

1. Nile River: Flows North

1653347805 594 Discover The 12 Longest Rivers in Asia - August 9, 2022
The Nile River was as soon as thought of the longest river globally, and it’s the longest in Africa.

When some individuals take a look at the Nile River on a map, they may assume that the river good points its water from the Mediterranean Sea. That is perhaps true if the river flowed south. Nevertheless, the Nile River flows north!

Two tributaries function the official begin of the Nile River. The confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile is the purpose of origin for the Nile River. These rivers are situated south of Egypt in areas with a better altitude than northern Egypt, so the water flows virtually due north by means of the nation and into the Mediterranean Sea.

2. Yellow River: Flows East

1653095089 496 13 of the Most Polluted Rivers in the World 2 - August 9, 2022
The Yellow River is a really lengthy river that drains into the Bohai Sea.


The Yellow River begins within the Bayan Har Mountains and flows to its mouth on the Bohai Sea, a part of the Yellow Sea and a gulf of the Pacific Ocean. It is among the longest rivers on the earth and the second-longest river in China.  Alongside its 3,395-mile course, the river travels east, nevertheless it additionally flows north, a bit of west, south, and east.

This river travels in all types of instructions! It has been closely dammed to assist generate hydroelectric energy all through the nation.

3. Ob River: Flows Northwest

marsh vs swamp
Novosibirsk is on the banks of the Ob River.

Dmitriy Kandinskiy/

The Ob River in Russia flows primarily northwest. It’s one other one of many longest rivers on the earth, and it has just a few sources in Russia. This river has tributaries within the Katun and Biya rivers, and these are situated 1000’s of miles to the south of the eventual mouth of the river within the Gulf of Ob.

All instructed, the Ob River flows about 3,360 miles, ending within the Gulf of Ob, a bay within the Arctic Ocean.

4. Amazon River: Flows West to East

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The Amazon River is each lengthy and distant in areas.

The mighty Amazon River flows virtually throughout your complete continent of South America. Relying on the measurement used, this can be the longest river system in your complete world and has the most important discharge of any river in your complete world.

The Amazon River will get its water from the Rio Apurimac in Peru. From there, the river flows west to east throughout the continent and ends within the Atlantic Ocean. The river is huge and has many tributaries from a number of nations on the continent.  

5. Mackenzie River: Flows Northwest

1653810537 392 The 10 Longest Rivers in Canada - August 9, 2022
The Mackenzie River is a component of a bigger river system that features the Slave, Peace, and Finlay rivers.

The Mackenzie River is situated within the Northwest Territories of Canada. The river begins within the Nice Slave Lake and flows northwest for two,635 miles earlier than reaching its ultimate vacation spot within the Arctic Ocean.

This river has supported life on this considerably desolate a part of the world for 1000’s of years. Additionally, it has the second-largest drainage basin of any river in North America. In fact, the most important drainage basin is discovered within the Mississippi River. The Mackenzie River might not be as recognizable because the others on this record. Nonetheless, it’s a terrific instance of a river that flows north, even within the far northern components of the world.

Now you know the way to reply when somebody asks, “why do rivers stream south?” Fairly merely, they don’t all stream south. The 5 examples we offered that stream east, west, or north are only a few rivers that don’t adhere to the “rivers stream south” idea.

Loads of different rivers stream in instructions aside from south, and you will discover loads of examples in your nation with ease!

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