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Author Topic: River Runner  (Read 3886 times)

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Offline Thundersnow

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River Runner
« on: June 03, 2021, 10:07:49 AM »
I had to share this, because it's awesome:

https://river-runner.samlearner.com/

Interactive map... click anywhere in the continental US to follow the path water runoff takes all the way to the sea, with animation.


Offline JHart

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2021, 11:13:36 AM »
Amazing.  I never considered the possibility that water in the creek behind my house ends up in the Ohio River; that seems so counterintuitive at first. I have bookmarked this site.  :D
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Offline Thundersnow

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2021, 11:37:21 AM »
Amazing.  I never considered the possibility that water in the creek behind my house ends up in the Ohio River; that seems so counterintuitive at first. I have bookmarked this site.  :D

Yep- anything that flows eventually into either the Cumberland or Tennessee Rivers ends up in the Ohio before that goes into the Mississippi, which is most of the state... exceptions between western areas of the state that flow more directly into the Mississippi and maybe some parts of far East TN if the water flows into rivers further east and south, although I'm not sure of that. Even most of East TN flows into the Tennessee River, which ends up in the Ohio.

Offline StormNine

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2021, 12:43:59 PM »
Amazing.  I never considered the possibility that water in the creek behind my house ends up in the Ohio River; that seems so counterintuitive at first. I have bookmarked this site.  :D

That is also how a lot of pollution ends up in the oceans as well.  It isn't just beach trash that ends up in the garbage piles it is whatever is picked up from our rivers which then feed into the Gulf which then travel places across the ocean via the ocean currents that end up there.

To make things even more complicated the vast majority of Middle and Eastern TN is karst meaning things can flow through underground streams and cave systems before emerging into the surface.   
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 12:45:59 PM by StormNine »

Offline ChrisPC

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2021, 12:59:46 PM »
I remember reading a story from about 1971 related to this. Two men took a small boat with an outboard motor from downtown Nashville to downtown New Orleans, stopping every night to sleep. It took about a month.

I grew up in South MS, and was always told a river started on my family’s land, and went about 150 miles to the Gulf. I tried it on this site, and it was pretty accurate. It’s a much shorter run than from Nashville…  :)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 01:01:22 PM by ChrisPC »

Offline Thundersnow

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2021, 02:19:18 PM »
One concerning/sad situation with a river is the Colorado River out west. The river bed empties into a delta at the Gulf of California down in the Baja. But, the water doesn't make it that far anymore and is getting shorter. It just sort of dies in the desert now, as all the populations and agriculture of S Cal and the adjacent Southwest are using up the water. Couple that with decades-long drought, and it's a crisis. Lake levels continue to drop in that region.

Offline dwagner88

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2021, 09:16:29 PM »
Yep- anything that flows eventually into either the Cumberland or Tennessee Rivers ends up in the Ohio before that goes into the Mississippi, which is most of the state... exceptions between western areas of the state that flow more directly into the Mississippi and maybe some parts of far East TN if the water flows into rivers further east and south, although I'm not sure of that. Even most of East TN flows into the Tennessee River, which ends up in the Ohio.
The thing that always puzzled me was western NC. It never made sense to me that you wouldn’t change drainage basins when you crossed the high mountains at the TN/NC border, but most of western NC, including Asheville, drains into the TN River. The source of the TN River is actually on whiteside mountain near Highlands, NC. It also interesting that there is a very small portion of southern Polk and Bradley counties that isn’t in the TN or MS basin. It drains into Mobile bay instead.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2021, 09:18:01 PM by dwagner88 »
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Offline JayCee

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2021, 03:09:12 AM »
The thing that always puzzled me was western NC. It never made sense to me that you wouldn’t change drainage basins when you crossed the high mountains at the TN/NC border, but most of western NC, including Asheville, drains into the TN River.

I've always thought it was very odd that the French Broad River has it's origins not far from upstate South Carolina, but flows north and west through all the high country and mountains to end up in east TN.  I know it must be a very ancient valley cut through the mountains long before people were here, but still, the river just seems to flow in the wrong direction. 

« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 03:41:35 AM by JayCee »
"For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms, and did my duty faithfully, though I never received one cent for it.." 
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Offline Thundersnow

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2021, 10:29:32 AM »
Basically, the spine of the Appalachians (what I tend to think of the Smokies as being part of) is not a major "divide" like the Continental Divide is in the Rockies, where there's a clear line of demarcation between the Mississippi watershed and rivers that flow west into the Pacific. Rivers that flow east into the East Coast have their source well east of the highest elevations of the Appalachians... what it seems to me anyway. Maybe that divide is somewhere along the Piedmont region.

Offline Thundersnow

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2021, 10:38:32 AM »
Here is helpful map on that topic:



Eastern Continental Divide

Offline dwagner88

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2021, 10:48:00 AM »
What happens inside those circles in the continental divide in Wyoming and Mexico? Big lakes? Evaporation? Tunnel to the center of the earth?
Winter 2009-10 Snowfall: 11.5 in. :)
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Offline Thundersnow

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2021, 10:58:11 AM »
What happens inside those circles in the continental divide in Wyoming and Mexico? Big lakes? Evaporation? Tunnel to the center of the earth?

I had the same questions, so I started looking. No answers on those yet. I know there are some inland bodies of water in the world that have no outflow to the ocean.

Here's something interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Ocean_Pass

This is a creek on the Continental Divide in Wyoming that splits into "distributaries" where one goes to the Pacific and one goes to the Atlantic.  So, if a raindrop goes into that source creek, you won't know which ocean it will reach. It could split off on either side of the divide.

Offline StormNine

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2021, 02:52:14 PM »
This also proves why declining snowfall rates in the West are of great concern.

In our area, other than the breaking of the hearts of weenies going from 8 inches of snow a year to 2-3 inches of snow a year is not a big deal. Even in a drought year, we will see at least 30 inches of rain (outside of some Eastern TN microclimates that would be at more risk because they are a bit drier due to localized rain-shadow effects). Therefore our major water supplies stay intact.

If a mountain in Western Colorado that averages 500 inches of snow a year now only gets 200 inches of snow a year.  Now we lost the liquid-equivalent for 300 inches of snow for that drainage area and that is even less water that makes its way to the Colorado River.  Essentially the headwaters of the Colorado River now have essentially an automatic 15 inch rainfall penalty before you even factor in the actual drought.  This is just dire when you have major metros that are in arid, semi-arid, and hot-summer mediterranean climates that rely on that water source.     
« Last Edit: June 04, 2021, 02:55:51 PM by StormNine »

Offline JHart

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2021, 04:40:40 PM »
I've always thought it was very odd that the French Broad River has it's origins not far from upstate South Carolina, but flows north and west through all the high country and mountains to end up in east TN.  I know it must be a very ancient valley cut through the mountains long before people were here, but still, the river just seems to flow in the wrong direction. 


Geologists believe the French Broad River began flowing in the late Carboniferous Period or early Permian Period between 260 and 325 million years ago (https://riverlink.org/river-facts/).  The river was at least 30 million years old when the earliest dinosaurs appeared.  That is beyond astounding to me.
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Offline StormNine

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Re: River Runner
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2021, 09:33:08 PM »
Geologists believe the French Broad River began flowing in the late Carboniferous Period or early Permian Period between 260 and 325 million years ago (https://riverlink.org/river-facts/).  The river was at least 30 million years old when the earliest dinosaurs appeared.  That is beyond astounding to me.

East TN/Western NC has some interesting Geology. The area around Hayesville/Franklin NC has roadcuts that are popular places to collect Gneiss.  When I went there with APSU's Geology program we ran into a FL school there.  I believe it was either UCF or USF.  Rocks that are testament to the sheer power and geologic time it takes to form that landscape. Rocks have been melted, solidified, deformed, overturned, flipped back upright, overturned again and the process goes on and on. 

The oldest rocks in Tennessee are in the Roan Mountain area which is also Gniess and other deformed metamorphic rock. 

 

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