Rivers are what has allowed mankind to become the dominate animal on Earth. It was rivers that made possible all sites of mass human habitation that would in time develop into the world’s great cities. These great waterways provide us with food, water, transportation, farming, electricity, and possess a beauty that has always attracted man. With all that rivers provide us it can be easy to forget how dangerous they are. Thousands die every year from rivers flooding their banks, and cities are left ruined from the destructive force of water. Here are the 5 most powerful rivers in the world.
1. Mississippi River – With a flow between 200-700 cubic feet per second it is the smallest of the five great rivers listed here, but as the largest river in North America with immense destructive capabilities it deserves a place on this list. Due to the large number of people that live along its borders and in its flood plane the Mississippi River is the most dangerous in the United States. In 2011 after four huge storms 392 people lost their lives to the flood waters of the mighty Mississippi.
2. Yangtze River – The longest river in Asia the Yangtze discharges 1,235,500 cubic feet of water per second into the East China Sea. In 1998 the Yangtze spilled over its banks for four months between June and September. This event killed an estimated 4,500 people and caused over 25 billion dollars in damages. While the Yangtze is a very deadly river it also helps to power much of China. Both the Three Gorges Damn and the Gezhouba Damn are located along its length, and alone the Three Gorges Damn provides power to nine provinces and two cities.
3. Congo River – The Largest river in Africa in terms of water volume the Congo has another distinction of being the deepest river in the world with measured depths of 700 feet. The Congo winds its way through the Congo rainforest before depositing its water into the Atlantic ocean. The Congo has over 700 species of fish living in its waters which makes it a vital source of food for the entire region. Its location and volume also make it a prime candidate for a large power generating damn though could bring prosperity to the region. The Congo drains 1,450,000 cubic feet per second.
4. Ganges River – The most sacred waterway in the world the Ganges is host to uncounted cremations every year and is the most heavily populated river in the Asia and the world. People come from all over India to bathe in its hold waters and to bring their loved ones for cremation. The Ganges also ranks as one of the most polluted water ways in the world. At 1,486,500 cubic feet per second it ranks as the second largest river in the world by volume.
5. Amazon River – Without a doubt the most impressive waterway on Earth the Amazon dumps an amazing 7,315,000 cubic feet per second into the Atlantic ocean. The Amazon River basin supports one-third of all the known animal species on earth and dumps more water than the next 5 largest rivers. The river is so wide and deep that no rivers cross its waters. For the people of the Amazon the river represents both life and death for obvious reasons. Most of their food comes from its waters and banks while at the same time death can come from snakes, alligators, and simply drowning. The Amazon is undoubtedly the most powerful river in the world.