Among Africa, Australia and South America, North America is second only to South America in terms of the density of the river network and the number of rivers, lakes and marshes. However, due to the heterogeneity of the climate, they are unevenly distributed.
The rivers of North America belong to the Atlantic basins. Pacific and Arctic oceans.
Since most of the continent is in the subarctic and temperate climatic zones, where there is a constant or seasonal snow cover, the feeding of rivers is mainly snow.
The largest river in North America is the Mississippi, which in translation from the language of local Indians means “the father of waters.” In length it occupies the third place in the world, according to the area of the basin the fourth, in terms of the amount of water that it discharges into the Atlantic Ocean – the sixth. At the confluence of the Gulf of Mexico forms a large delta. The river basin stretches from the Appalachians in the east to the slopes of the Cordillera in the west, from the Great Lakes in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south. In the upper course of the Mississippi there are many rapids. On tributaries that begin in the Cordilleras and Appalachians, there are waterfalls. The largest “of the tributaries of the river are Missouri and Ohio, supplying the bulk of the water.
Power Mississippi mixed, with a predominance of snow and rain. Meltwater flows into the river from its right tributaries, rain from the left. The Mississippi poured in the spring because of the melting of the snow in the Rocky Mountains and in the summer due to heavy rainfall. At present, the system of earthen ramparts and dams protects cities, agricultural lands, settlements from the devastating consequences of flooding. Ice covers the river only in the upper reaches, and then for a short period.
Mississippi and its tributaries Missouri and Ohio are navigable on the plain of Mississippi. On the river there are many river, and in the estuary and seaports. The largest of them is New Orleans. On the banks of the Mississippi, there are many cities that throw industrial waste into the river, therefore the waters of the Mississippi are very polluted.
The Great River of the Arctic Ocean basin and the second longest on the mainland is Mackenzie. It received its name on behalf of Scotsman Alexander Mackenzie, who opened it. The river originates from the Great Slave Lake. The river valley is wide, heavily waterlogged. The banks are covered with spruce forests. McKenzie feeds on snowmelt water. During the freeze-up, ice jams form on the river, the water level rises rapidly, and flooding begins. Before the advent of aircraft, Mackenzie was the only way to report to the north of the mainland. The rivers of the Pacific basin, with the exception of the Yukon, are short, rapids and deep waters. The largest of them are Colorado and Colombia. They flow in deep canyons – canyons. The deepest canyon, attracting the beauty of tourists, forms the Colorado River. The rivers begin at an altitude of more than 2000 m, so they have glacial and snow food. They spill in the spring and summer. The energy of the water flow is widely used, numerous hydroelectric power stations are built on the rivers.