To gain knowledge about the drainage system of South America, refer to this map of South American rivers. These maps will help you to gain an understanding of the drainage system of the continent. It is a large continent with 14 countries, the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. You may also see the printable world map.
Table of Contents
Map of Rivers in South America Labeled
Map of South America Rivers
Map of South America with Rivers
South America Map Rivers
The 6 Longest Rivers In South America
Factors That Determine The Length Of The River
Mountains & Highlands
With the help of a labeled map of South American rivers, you can understand and locate the rivers flowing in the regions. As in the given map, you can see the rivers covering which area of the continent. The dissymmetry of the continent affects its rivers, as stated earlier.
The continent’s physical dissymmetry has a significant impact on drainage. East of the Andes, the major basins are located, and the major rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon, Ro de la Plata (Paraguay, Paraná, and Uruguay rivers), Orinoco, and So Francisco drainage basins cover two-thirds of the continent.
The Amazon River, which runs over 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) through equatorial South America, is the most excellent system. It transports more water than all other rivers combined, accounting for one-fifth of its total flowing freshwater. The Amazon River releases over 6,350,000 cubic feet (179,800 cubic meters) of water every second into the Atlantic, more than ten times the Mississippi River’s output.
The Amazon River drains 2,722,000 square miles (7,050,000 square kilometers), or roughly two-fifths of South America, and has over 1,000 tributaries, some of which are over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) long. It rises in the middle Peruvian Andes and is known as the Maraón in its upper reaches; after being joined by other rivers, including the Ucayali River, which is historically used to estimate the Amazon’s length, it flees the Andes through tiny valleys (pongos). The Amazon is only second in size to the Nile when measured from the Maraón-Ucayali confluence.
Recent estimations, however, assert that the Amazon’s source is deeper within the Andes, implying that the Amazon is the world’s longest river. The Negro River, which drains much of northern Brazil, joins it near Manaus. The Amazon then weaves its way through the low plains, passing through the Guiana and Brazilian Highlands before emptying into the Atlantic.
These maps will also help you to practice the rivers of the continent. Since it is a continent with a large population spread over 6,400 km thus, they are dependent on the source of water flowing inside the country’s boundary. Amazon River is the longest river in South America and 2nd longest globally and covers 4,000 miles merging into the Atlantic ocean. It has more than 1000 tributaries draining into 2/5 of the Continent.
The second most important is the Paraguay, Paraná, and Uruguay rivers emerging into Río de la Plata. Orinoco River is the third largest river on the continent, with a length of 948,000 square km. By covering an area of 632,000 square km, the São Francisco River is the 4rth largest river. It flows totally inside the walls of Brazil.
River helps the nation to build its social and economic terms. As you can see on the map, small or big rivers flow all around the continent and providing them with proper drainage systems and also fulfilling the necessities related to water. Rivers are used for the cheapest transportation, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Please go through the maps to understand them properly and better way. You can also download these maps for your other practice and locate their areas.
South America is the 4th largest continent in the world by land area. While it is often considered a continent on its own, it is by some definitions a sub-continent of the Americas. The continent has many notable features, including Angel Falls, the Amazon River (the longest river globally), the Amazon Rainforest, the Atacama Desert and the Andes mountain range. South America is notable for being home to some of the most biodiverse places on Earth.
1. The Amazon River: The 4,345 mile long Amazon River was considered the 2nd longest river in the world until recently, when some Peruvian and Brazilian studies confirmed that it is longer than the Nile. The most distant source of the Amazon is the Mantaro River in Peru. The Mantaro joins with other tributaries to form river Ucayali which meets with river Maranon to create the primary stem of the Amazon. The River Ene begins at the confluence of the River Apurimac and the River Mantaro, and it is part of the Amazon river’s headwaters which originates from Miami. After about 450 miles, the Apurimac meets with river Mantaro and becomes Ene which joins River Perene and becomes river Tambo which drains to Ucayali. Ucayali-Tambo-Ene and Apurimac join the Amazon to form the longest river in the world. The Amazon has an average discharge of 209 million liters per second. The river’s discharge represents about 20% of the world’s flow into the ocean. The Amazon River passes through multiple countries, including Venezuela, Guyana, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil.
2. Parana-Rio De La Plata: Situated in the southern central part of the continent, the Parana River runs through Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil for approximately 3,030 miles. The 3,030-mile-long river is the 2nd longest river in South America. It merges with the Rio-de-la-Plata (the Uruguay and Paraguay rivers) before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. It flows through Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina. Rio-de-la-Plata is part of the Uruguay-Argentina border and hosts these nations’ essential ports.
3. Tocantins-Araguaia: This 2,270-mile river is composed of two Brazilian rivers considered to be the tributaries of the Amazon (which is not the case). The Tocantins drains into the Atlantic alongside the Amazon. The Tocantins is a Tupi language term that refers to Toucan’s break, while “Araguaia” refers to the River of macaws. The 3rd most significant river in South America flows through numerous Brazilian states, including Para, Maranhao, Goias, and the Tocantins.
4. Madeira-Mamore-Grande-Caine-Rocha: The Mamore is a large river in Brazil and Bolivia that merges with Beni to create Madeira. The Madeira, approximately 2,020 miles long, is the most significant Amazon tributary, accounting for over 15% of the Amazon water. The Rio Grande joins the Mamore through Ichillo River, one of its branches. Madeira-Mamore-Grande-Caine-Rocha merges to form a 2,100-mile river which is the 4th longest in South America. The Madeira-Mamore-Grande-Caine-Rocha flows through Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
5. Purus River: The fifth longest river in South America is the Purus River. The Purus River is an Amazon River tributary with a drainage basin of about 24,389 square miles. The 1,995-mile-long river originates in Peru and helps define the Brazil-Peru boundary in Acre state before running along the border of the Santa Rosa-do-Purus national forest.
6. Sao Francisco: The Sao Francisco River is a 1,811-mile Brazilian river that is the 6th longest river in South America. Before colonization, the river was known as “Opava”. Sao Francisco rises from the mountain ranges of Canastra in Minas-Gerais state. Sao Francesco traverses through 5 Brazilian states before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the factors that determine the river’s length include the source of the river and the scale of measurement and the definition of the river’s mouth. This is why the sizes of many rivers are primarily approximations, and this is the main reason for the dispute between the Amazon and the Nile over, which is the longest river in the world. The Peruvian and Brazilian studies that confirmed that the Amazon is the world’s longest river measured the river plus its connecting tidal and adjacent estuary.
South America, the fourth-largest continent, extends from the Gulf of Darién in the northwest to the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego in the south. South America’s physical geography, environment and resources, and human geography can be considered separately.
South America can be divided into three physical regions: mountains and highlands, river basins, and coastal plains. Mountains and coastal plains generally run north-south, while highlands and river basins typically run east-west. South America’s extreme geographic variation contributes to the continent’s many biomes. A biome is a community of animals and plants that spreads over an area with a relatively uniform climate.
Within a few hundred kilometers, South America’s coastal plains’ desert biome rises to the rugged alpine biome of the Andes mountains. One of the continent’s river basins (the Amazon) is defined by dense, tropical rain forests, while the other (Paraná) is vast grasslands. With an unprecedented number of plant and animal species, South America’s rich biodiversity is unique among the world’s continents.
South America’s primary mountain system, the Andes, is also the world’s longest. The range covers about 8,850 kilometers (5,500 miles). It is situated on the far western edge of the continent; the Andes stretch from the southern tip to the northernmost coast of South America. There are hundreds of peaks more than 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) tall, many volcanic. The highest peak in the Andes, Aconcagua, stands at 6,962 meters (22,841 feet) and straddles the Argentina-Chile border. Aconcagua is the tallest mountain outside Asia.
High plateaus are also a feature of the Andes. The altiplano of Peru and Bolivia, for example, has an elevation of about 3,700 meters (12,300 feet). The Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile consists of lower-elevation plateaus and rugged glaciers. Most plants in the alpine biome are small, and their leaves are stiff and strong to protect them from frost and drought. The largest herb in the world, Puya raimondii, is the Queen of the Andes. A Puya raimondii can live for 100 years and grow to more than 9 meters (30 feet) tall. The leaves of this endangered species all grow from one woody stem, allowing moisture to run down the leaves to the base of the plant.
Outside the Andes, South America has two principal highland areas: the Brazilian Highlands and the Guiana Highlands. Located south of the Amazon River in Brazil, the Brazilian Highlands are made up of low mountains and plateaus that rise to an average elevation of 1,006 meters (3,300 feet). The Guiana Highlands are located between the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. The heavily forested plateau of the Guiana Highlands covers southern Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana, northern Brazil, and a portion of southeastern Colombia.
A coastal plain is an area of low, flat land next to a seacoast. South American coastal plains are found on the northeastern coast of Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean, and on the western Pacific coast of Peru and Chile. The coastal plains in northeast Brazil are arid. The Brazilian Highlands act as a wedge that pushes moist sea winds away from the coastal plains.
The western coastal plains are also arid. They are trapped between the cold Peru Current to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east. The Peru Current brings cold water to the Pacific coast of Peru and Chile. This hard surface water results in thermal inversion: cold air at sea level and stable, warmer air higher up. Thermal inversion produces a thick layer of clouds at low altitudes. These low-lying clouds blanket much of the Pacific coast of South America. They do not allow precipitation to form.
The Atacama Desert is part of the western coastal plain. The Atacama is considered the driest region in the world. The average rainfall is about 1 millimeter (0.04 inches) a year, and some parts of the Atacama have never had rain in recorded history.
Immensely few plants grow in this desert. Even bacteria, insects, and fungi are scarce. Larger animal species are also rare, including the grey fox, a type of deer called the huemul, and the viscacha—the most prominent member of the chinchilla family. Ocean birds, such as penguins, cormorants, and pelicans, are found on the desert coast. While the Atacama lacks flora and fauna, it is a rich source of copper and a chief source of revenue for the Chilean economy.