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Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 5:38 AM


Without further comment on my part - but hoping that it might guide some towards future correct answers! - I reprint this article from an otherwise respected USA-based Geography newsgroup:

Rivers Only Flow Downhill; Rivers Do Not Prefer to Flow South

For some reason, a large segment of the population believes that by default rivers most commonly flow south due to some geophysical property that I'm completely unaware of. Perhaps some think that all rivers flow toward the equator (in the Northern Hemisphere) or that rivers like to flow down toward the bottom of north-oriented maps?
Whatever the cause of this mysterious belief system, please know that rivers, like all other objects on earth, flow downhill due to gravity. No matter where the river, it will take the path of least resistance and flow downhill as rapidly as possible. Sometimes, this path is south and, just as likely can be north, east, or west, or any combination of the directions of the compass.

I enjoy this analogy - would you go to Seattle, Washington and rent a car and then let it coast to Los Angeles because Los Angeles is south (and thus downhill) of Seattle? No! Just because Los Angeles is south of Seattle and thus typically displayed "below" Seattle, it does not mean that south is downhill.

There are countless examples of rivers flowing northward.

Some of the most famous rivers that flow north include the world's longest Nile River, Russia's Ob, Lena, and Yenisey Rivers, the Red River in the United States and Canada, Canada's Mackenzie River, and California's San Joaquin River.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of additional rivers and streams that flow northward around the world.

Therefore, know that rivers often flow north and that rivers only flow downhill!

Tuzilla  (Level: 144.5 - Posts: 3839)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 6:50 AM

The oldest river on the North American continent is the New River. It is the one that flows under the famous arched bridge in West Virginia that you see in ads and movies. It flows North.

Linenlady  (Level: 159.1 - Posts: 306)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 8:01 AM

But, doesn't that just seem unnatural? Surely there must be something wrong with the universe? I know! Global warming must have caused it.

Ladyvol  (Level: 212.1 - Posts: 5645)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 10:06 AM

The Tennessee River flows both North and South...did ya know that?

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 11:00 AM

And the Thames flows uphill - when the tide's coming in!

Ladyvol  (Level: 212.1 - Posts: 5645)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 2:20 PM

Alan one of these days I am going to show up on your doorstep and you'll have to show me around your stomping grounds over there....England I want to see but I want to see Wales, Ireland and Scotland much more...You game to play tour guide....

Mindmonkey  (Level: 278.8 - Posts: 295)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 2:28 PM

I have coasted from Seattle to California numerous times. Nothing special there. In fact, that is where the expression, "California Coast" comes from.

Those northern flowing rivers like he Red or the Nile are really just a figment of someone's imagination. As most people realize, for example, the water from the Nile enters the river at the Mediterranean Sea and then fills up Lake Uganda at the other end. Otherwise, where would lakes like that get their water?

Surryman, you must brush up on your geography. Next thing you know, you'll be telling me that Portugal is not in Germany.

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 2:33 PM

Portugal's going to be nowhere tomorrow! LOL!

Surreyman  (Level: 272.1 - Posts: 2771)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 2:34 PM

Vickie: You'd better give me time to go and look at them myself first!

Groupw  (Level: 144.4 - Posts: 153)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 2:55 PM

You beat me to it Steve!

Bigbird  (Level: 248.9 - Posts: 3337)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 3:29 PM

As a retired Earth Science teacher, I can tell you that the kids absolutely believe that "down" and "South" are the same thing. I did a workshop for teachers yesterday during which I went on a whole rant about it. I don't know if it is just US kids; but I have found them to be incredibly geographically challenged.


Pafork  (Level: 132.0 - Posts: 536)
Fri, 30th Jun '06 8:07 PM

So true Alice.
From 1st to 12th grades the only geography I ever had was learning the states and capitals in the 5th grade - and I was always in advanced and honors classes!!
One of the first things I did in college was take a geography lab that taught all the basics - countries, rivers, mountains - filling everything in on blank maps like people in other countries do in grade school.
I'm sure there are people in the U.S. who were taught more geography than I was, but I think my experience was sadly pretty typical.

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