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Stream

From Academic Kids

For other meanings of the word "stream" see Stream (disambiguation).
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Stream.jpg
Running Stream

The primary meaning of stream is a body of water, confined within a bed and banks and having a detectable current. Stream is the umbrella term used in the scientific community for all flowing natural waters.

Types of water streams

An American creek
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An American creek
  • river - a large natural stream, which may be a waterway.
  • creek North American usage: - a small natural stream. Rarely navigable and may be intermittent.
  • creek British and Indian usage: - a tidal inlet, typically in a saltmarsh or mangrove swamp. Alternatively, between enclosed and drained, former saltmarshes or swamps. In these cases, the stream is the tidal stream, the course of the sea-water through the creek channel on each of the flood and ebb.
  • tributary - a contributory stream - a stream that does not reach the sea but joins another river (a parent river). Sometimes also called a branch.
  • brook - a small stream.

Parts of a stream

  • confluence - the point at which the two streams merge. If the two tributaries are of approximately equal size, the confluence may be called a fork.
  • run - a fairly smooth flowing segment of the stream
  • pool - a segment where the water is deeper and slower moving
  • riffle - a segment where the flow is shallower and more turbulent
  • source - the spring from which the stream originates or other point of origin of a stream.
  • headwater (commonly used in the plural where there is no single point source) - the part of a stream or river, close to its source.
  • channel - a depression created by constant erosion, that carries the stream's flow
  • floodplain - flatlands on either side of the stream that are subject to seasonal flooding
  • bed - the bottom of the stream
  • mouth - the point at which the stream discharges into a more static body of water such as a lake or ocean
  • thalweg - the river's profile (see below). The line joining the deepest point in the channel at each stage from source to mouth. The river's longitudinal section.
  • wetted perimeter - the line on which the stream's surface meets the channel walls

Intermittent and ephemeral streams

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Low_creek.jpg
A Low Creek. An American creek in which the energetic flow of the stream in spate, has removed the finer sediment further downstream but which in this dry season, is carying little water. There is a pool to lower right and a riffle to upper left of the photograph.
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