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# What are the world's fastest and slowest flowing rivers?

Question #53781. Asked by gmackematix. (Jan 07 05 2:43 AM)

Buck540

I would think that the flow of a river would depend on the weather - during a storm they all would be moving pretty quick, but during a drought they would move quite slooooow.

 Jan 07 05, 7:19 AM
peasypod

I know the Atrato is pretty darn fast...

...and probably not THE slowest but I recall the Everglades once being referred to as 'The River of Glass' because it just didn't move.

 Jan 07 05, 7:42 AM
gmackematix

The speed at any moment will depend upon the weather Buck. For example, in the past the Niagara river has frozen solid, while most of the time it is moving at some speed down the falls. But rivers must have an average flow rate so the question still remains.
Don't potamologists measure these things? There must be a site that answers this.

 Jan 07 05, 1:47 PM
potterguy

I don't know who measures it, but when I studied geomorphology back in the Dark Ages, we used to measure relative energy of a river, but you'd have to track flow, elevation change, relative volumes, etc over the entire course of the river. It has probably been done, but darned if I know where the info is. Rational guesstimating would lead one to conclude that the fastest river would be a relatively short one located somewhere in the mountains.

gmack, you might try to look under geomorphology if you're really looking for the answer. I no longer have my old texts, but there were some pretty complicated mathematical formulae for figuring out the relative energy of a stream. Of course, as mentioned earlier, it would vary depending upon time of year, sites measured, etc. For simply measuring velocity of flow, I would imagine that one would come up with site-specific measurements, as in, "the fastest recorded flow was on such and such a date at such and such a place", etc.

 Jan 07 05, 9:19 PM
gmackematix

Claims on the net re: the fastest river:
I think Peasy gets a yay as the Atrato in south America is claimed by more than one site to be the world's fastest and empties 4900 cubic metres of water per second.
The Amazon and Terek rivers (the later is in the Caucasus) also have claims for them on other sites. A site about the Sutlej river in India says it is the second fastest in the world.
The fastest river in the USA, according to many sites, is the Merced River in Yosemite National Park in California.
The fastest in the UK is the Spey River in Scotland (flow rate reaches 16 m/s).

Many sites agree that the Everglades are flowing slightly from north to south so the swamp can be called the "slowest river in the world". Mind you, I suppose the answer to that one depends on whether we count glacial rivers such as the following:
http://209.157.64.200/focus/f-news/985902/posts

 Jan 08 05, 10:35 AM