What Is The Longest River In North America? Facts For Kids

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Read these amazing facts about the longest river in North America.

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Rivers are some of the few freshwater sources in the entire world.

North America is one of the top continents that uses large amounts of water. All thanks to the long river sources.

North America has some of the world's longest and famous rivers, like the Mississippi, Missouri, and Yukon rivers. Some of the major drainage basins in North America are the Hudson Bay, the Caribbean Sea, and the Arctic Ocean. The drainage basin of the Mississippi River alone is 529,384.7 sq mi (1,371,100 sq km).

Continue reading to know more about the longest river in the continent of North America. Once you have finished reading this article, take a look at longest living dog breed and longest river in Europe here on Kidadl.

List Of Longest Rivers In North America

Mississippi, Missouri, Yukon, Rio Grande, Colorado are some of the longest rivers in North America.

Missouri River: The Missouri River is the longest river in North America that flows entirely through the United States. This river flows through seven states, including Montana, Kansas, and Missouri. The river before reaching the Mississippi River flows for 2,340.7 mi (3,767 km). It has a drainage basin that is spread across 529,346 sq mi (1,371,000 sq km). The mouth of the Missouri River is the Mississippi River. It drains 32 states and two Canadian provinces, which make up about 40% of the continental US. The Missouri River originates from the Rocky Mountains, western Montana.

Mississippi River: Lake Itasca in Minnesota is the source of the Mississippi River. The second-largest river in North America, it flows for 2,317.7 mi (3,730 km) and meets the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. The mouth of the Mississippi River is the Gulf Of Mexico which is a marginal sea and ocean basin in the Atlantic Ocean. The widest segment of the Mississippi River system is at Lake Winnibigoshish, near Bena.

Yukon: The length of the Yukon River is 1982.2 mi (3,190 km). This river is highly polluted due to military installations. The upper part of the river was initially known as the Lewes River. Llewellyn Glacier, located at the Atin Lake in British Columbia, is the source of the Yukon River. The Teslin River, White River, and the Pelly River are the major tributaries of this river. As it flows through Canada's Yukon territory and Alaska, this name was given. The Bering Sea is the mouth of the Yukon River.

Rio Grande: The length of this river, which is also known as Río Bravo del Norte and Río Bravo, is 1,885.2 mi (3,034 km). It rises from south-central Colorado and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. A particular part of the river acts as a boundary between the US states and Texas. Due to the construction of reservoirs and dams along the river and usage of water for irrigation purposes, only 20% of the Rio Grande river water reached the Gulf of Mexico. Rio Conchos is the main tributary of Rio Grande. The tributary reaches the Rio Grande at Ojinaga Municipality, in Chihuahua.

Colorado River: This is a major river in northern Mexico. The length of the Colorado River is 1,450.3 mi (2,334 km). La Poudre Pass Lake is the source of this river. It rises in the Rocky Mountains and passes along the Grand Canyon and reaches Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada border. Climate change and the over usage of water are degrading the Colorado River system.

92% of America's agricultural exports consist of products developed in the Mississippi River basin. The Mississippi River is also the busiest waterway in the world.

The Mississippi River discharge is the eighth largest in the world.

The Longest River In North America

The longest river in the continent of North America is the Missouri River. For thousands of years, the Missouri River has been one of the greatest sources of food, agriculture, trade, transportation, and tourism. The Missouri River watershed covers almost one-third of the agricultural lands in the United States. Loads of sediments pushed by the river gave it the name, Big Muddy. This river has over 95 tributaries. The Yellowstone in Montana and Wyoming and the Platte in Wyoming, Colorado are the largest tributaries. On the basis of discharge, Missouri is the ninth largest river in the US following Detroit and St.Clair. This river rose during the Laramide orogeny, a time period in the Late Cretaceous epoch. The river has two sources, Lake Itasca in Minnesota and Brower's spring in Montana. It is home to 300 bird species and 150 fish species.

Did you know, the Mississippi River is the second-longest river in North America? The main and true source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca. It empties into the Gulf of Mexico and drains 33 states.

How long is the Missouri River?

The Missouri River is 2,340.7 mi (3,767 km) long. Before flowing out to the Gulf of Mexico, this river extends for another 2,202 mi (3,543.8 km) in the south, after which it drains into the Gulf of Mexico. The watershed of the Mississippi River run stretches from the Allegheny Mountains (east) to the Rocky Mountains (west). Yellowstone rivers are the main tributaries of the Missouri River. 30 million years ago, the Missouri River was developed and some 115,000 years ago, the current path was established.

The Missouri River becomes the world's fourth-largest river when combined with Mississippi-Jefferson (Red Rock) and its headwaters. Together they flow to a distance of 3,710 mi (5,970.7 km). Their drainage area is 1.1 million sq mi (2.9 million sq km) long.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for longest river in North America then why not take a look at longest river in Asia or longest river in the world?


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The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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