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When rivers around the world join together, the point at which they meet can create striking imagery.
Referred to as confluence or conflux, the joining of two or more rivers occurs when the river waters approach without mixing right away.
“As far as the formation of river confluences, it is simply a matter of water from rain, springs and melting ice using gravity and erosion over time to follow the most direct route to the ocean,” said science consultant Pablo Solomon.
Occasionally, this confluence creates a new body of water, such as where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers unite to form the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The difference in colors seen in many areas of confluence often forms a noticeable and stunning visual contrast.
According to the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), the color of each river is the result of a variety of factors, including geological properties, dissolved chemicals and the presence of algae.
The USRA stated that color can also depend on the type and amount of vegetation in the watershed, which is an area of land that contains a common set of streams and rivers.
These rivers then drain into a single larger body of water, such as another river or ocean.
One of the more remarkable and famous examples of this phenomenon can be seen in Manaus, Brazil, between the Rio Negro and the Amazon River.
The meeting point of the two rivers is referred to as Encontro das Águas, which translates to the Meeting of Waters.
The coffee-colored water of the Amazon River joins together with the waters of the Rio Negro, which appear to be black.
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the rivers flow side by side within the same channel for several kilometers.
The difference in speed and temperature contribute to the formation of the two rivers’ noticeable boundary, which is visible from space.
In contrast to the Amazon’s cooler, faster and more dense waters, the Rio Negro’s waters are warmer and move at a slower speed.
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