Difference Between River and Creek

Jun 7, 2011 by

What is the Difference Between River and Creek?

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  1. khristine

    The Earth is filled with different bodies of water. In fact, water covers 70% of the Earth’s surface while the remaining 30% is land. Among the bodies of water known to people are river and creek. However, differentiating these two is quite challenging since most of the definitions that are easy to research are related to rivers but nothing much about creek. What’s more, the usage of the words “river” and “creek” varies from place to place which adds to the general confusion.

    What sets river different from a creek is primarily its size, or so they say. But, that too is ambiguous since there is no definite measurement that would delineate river from a creek. Rule of thumb is that a river is much larger than that of a creek. Yet, there are exemptions to rules as in the case of Lockyer Creek, Bulimba Creek, and Norman Creek in Australia where these bodies of water are also considered as rivers. In North America and New Zealand, any small to medium sized natural stream is also called a creek in which a small boat or a motor craft can pass.

    A creek is a tributary to a river. And a river is a gathering of water (mostly freshwater) that flows towards an open sea, an ocean, a lake, or meet-up with another river.

    A creek is synonymous to a bourne (or bourn), beck, gill and burn in British terminology, brook, runnel, streamlet and most words that refers to small rivers. A river is a big natural stream which is primarily navigable.

    Upon saying these, a river is considerably much deeper than that of a creek. The volume of water in rivers sometimes depends on rainfall or snow falls. But again there are special cases when creeks continues to flow throughout a year regardless of any climatic changes while a number of rivers end up dry amidst poor weather conditions.

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