How were rivers formed?

The word river is derived from the Latin word ‘ripa’ meaning river bank. In the ancient times, a stream of water with definite banks was called a river. According to contemporary definitions, giant streams of water without any definite banks are called rivers. Smaller streams of water are known as brooks.

In the beginning of the creation of the universe, when mountains and seas formed on the Earth, rains still continued. The rain-water used to travel from mountains via zigzag paths and would finally fall into the sea. The continuous flow of water made these tracks deeper and wider. These streams of water underwent many changes and subsequently became rivers.

With the passage of time, the forms of rivers have changed. Now most of the rivers originate from mountains. The water in these rivers is molten snow coming down from heights. Rains also contribute to the water flowing in the rivers.

Some rivers are formed by the movement of glaciers. The uneven areas coming in the way of glaciers become plain and take the shape of a river. Sources of some of the rivers are springs and lakes. A river flows very slowly near its origin, but as it advances, its depth reduces and its banks become wide because of soil erosion. A river becomes very slow at its fag end. There is enough accumulation of soil at the point where a river meets the sea or a lake and the place where they meet is called a delta. Those areas where river deposits silt brought by it become very fertile.

Rivers continue to be an important means of transportation of goods. Steamers and boats are plied in rivers. Dams are constructed in rivers to accumulate water, and by making water fall from a height, electricity is generated. This water is also used for irrigation purposes.