Rivers: Drainage Basins Revision

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The Part of the Hydrological Cycle that happens on land goes on in drainage basins 

 Drainage basins are open systems:

        • There are inputs of water to drainage basins.
        • Water flows through them and is stored in them.
        • There are outputs of water from drainage basins.
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Inputs and Outputs in Drainage Basins


  • Precipitation 


  • Evaporation
  • Transpiration
  • River Flow into the Sea 
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Flows/Transfers- Ways in which water moves from one place to another:

  • Surface Runoff 
  • Channel Flow
  • Throughflow
  • Infiltration 
  • Groundwater Flow 
  • Percolation 
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Features of a Drainage Basin


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Features of a Drainage Basin 2

Drainage basin - the area of land drained by a river.
Catchment area - the area within the drainage basin.
Watershed - the ridges of highland surrounding a drainage basin. It marks the boundary between two drainage basins.

    • Water falling either side of these ridges will go into different drainage basins.

Source - where a river starts, usually in an upland area (e.g. mountains).
Confluence - the point at which two rivers or streams join.
Tributary - a stream or smaller river which joins a larger stream or main river.
Mouth - the point where the river comes to the end, usually when entering the sea or a lake.

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