River vs. Creek

Fundamental difference between river and creek

A river is easily defined in simple terms as a continuous flow of fresh water within a definite course called a river bank. Most rivers on the earth surface drain their reserves of natural water into oceans and seas and in some occasions they may join other rivers or better still join a lake. A creek which is very different from a river is a small version of a river that is otherwise called a stream although the word can be used to also identify the narrow channels found in between islands. A river forms an elementary unit of the hydrological cycle and as many geographers in the contemporary world would observe, creeks will always remain shallow tributaries of a larger river and more often would be described in words such as small rivers and rivulets.

As it will seem obvious from our introductory remarks about rivers and creeks, the basic distinction between rivers and creeks is generally based on their size where the former is relatively larger than the latter. In most advanced languages the term river is pretty universal and it will be common to find the definition of a river as a natural body of water that drains to the seas and oceans standard in all societies. The creek on the other hand may mean different depending on the society concerned, as for the British for example, a narrow inlet to the sea is what they will call a creek while the Australians will call a creek almost a river. Other names for creek are used by the British which include the terms brook and stream.

Having had noted that the point of contrast between a creek and a river is size, it is also very crucial to observe that in some parts of North America, some creeks have been observed to be larger and longer even more than other rivers which are relatively smaller. The surprising fact is that there are some creeks which will flow all year round regardless of the prevailing climatic conditions while some rivers will reduce in water volume or even dry up during adverse weather conditions. Contrary to many perceptions, rivers normally flow downhill and not from north to south as many people seem to put.

 

  • Sam

    Why is the “river” picture something completely irrelevant?