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The United States of America has over 250,000 rivers, with a total of about 3,500,000 miles of rivers. The longest river in the USA is the Missouri River (it is a tributary of the Mississippi River and is 2,540 miles long), but the biggest in terms of water volume is the deeper Mississippi River. The longest undammed river in the contiguous USA is the Yellowstone River (it is 692 miles long).
Rivers provide drinking water, irrigation water, transportation, electrical power, drainage, food, and recreation. Rivers also erode land and carry it downstream to the sea. This kind of erosion can even form canyons, like the Grand Canyon, and waterfalls, like Niagara Falls.
River, Length in miles (flows into)
1. Missouri, 2,540 miles (flows into Mississippi River)
Refs. Encyclopedia Britannica and Kammerer, J.C., May, 1990, Largest Rivers in the United States, US Geological Survey Fact Sheet, Open File Report 87-242.
Note: Measuring the exact length of a river is diffcult, and the length can change over time. Many references cite different lengths for the same river. Averages have been taken in these cases.
US Rivers: Outline Map Printout
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A labeled outline map of the contiguous USA with rivers marked - state boundaries also marked (printable).
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