Wonder by Nathalie Derozier

Have you ever wondered....... ?

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Have you ever wondered the location and name of the smallest river in the world?

Social Studies – Geography


What is the shortest river?


Rivers are natural flowing watercourse that are usually freshwater. Beautiful flowing rivers lead towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. Sometimes a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. What a sight it must have been for explorers like Lewis and Clark. On an adventure and come upon a river. Rivers are part of the hydrological cycle. The Roe River is recognized as the shortest river. It is listed in Guinness World Records.


How short is the river?


The Roe River and Giant Springs were first explored by Lewis and Clark in 1805 during their Louisiana Purchase expedition. Most of the Roe River runs parallel to the Missouri River, then curves its mouth and feeds its water into the Missouri.


How does a river get its name?


Schoolchildren in Great Falls, Montana campaigned successfully to have the Roe River placed in the Guinness Book of World Records. The source of the Roe River, Giant Springs, is the largest freshwater spring in the United States. Clark guessed correct that it was the largest freshwater springs in the world, by volume. The Roe flows 200 feet between Giant Springs and the Missouri River near Great Falls. The Roe River competes with the D River in Lincoln City, Oregon for the title of the shortest river. Both rivers have been measured on different occasions, with lengths varying from 58 feet to 200 feet. There is another river named Roe located at Kimberley of Western Australia which is 41 miles long (66,000m) which is 1,081 times bigger than the Roe River in Montana, USA.


Water generally collects in a river from precipitation through a drainage basin from surface runoff and other sources such as groundwater, springs, and through collection of melted ice and snow. Potamology is the scientific study of rivers while limnology is the study of inland waters in general. An intermittent river (or ephemeral river) only flows occasionally and can be dry for several years at a time. These rivers are found in regions with limited or highly variable rainfall, or can occur because of geologic conditions such as a highly permeable river bed. Some ephemeral rivers flow during the summer months but not in the winter. (Wikipedia, 2016)


Such rivers are typically fed from chalk aquifers which refill from winter rainfall. Giant Springs is an opening in the Madison Aquifer, a massive freshwater aquifer that underlies five American states and two Canadian provinces. Snow melts water which can take almost 2,900 years to travel underground before returning to the surface at the springs.


Roe River is known as the source and Giant Springs which is considered the largest freshwater spring in the United States. Some of the discharged water is used for a Montana trout hatchery named Giant Springs Trout Hatchery.

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Try It Out

Are you ready to explore your local river? Gather your family and friends and explore these few activities!