Why Do Rivers Flow? Earth's Bulge Causes Uphill Flow

• alphabeta1720
In summary, the Earth's bulge near the equator causes the Mississippi River to be closer to the center of the Earth at its source than at its mouth. This phenomenon is due to the Earth's rotation, which creates a centrifugal force that acts on both the river and the surface of the Earth. This means that although the river may appear to be flowing "uphill" as it moves south, it is actually flowing towards the outside of a spinning circle.
alphabeta1720
Because the Earth bulges near the equator, the source of the Mississippi River ( at about 50 N latitude),although high above sea level, is about 5 km closer to the center of the Earth than its mouth ( at about 30 N latitude). How can the river flow "uphill" as it flows south ?

The eath's bulge is due to its rotation. The surface actually is roughly at the same gravitational potential so no, rivers do not flow uphill.

centrifugal force acts on the water in the river the same way it acts on the surface of the Earth so while the river may in fact be flowing away from the center of the Earth it is flowing toward the outside of a spinning circle.

1. Why do rivers flow?

Rivers flow due to the force of gravity. Water naturally flows from higher elevations to lower elevations, following the path of least resistance. This creates a downward slope, or gradient, which causes the water to flow in a specific direction.

2. How does Earth's bulge affect river flow?

Earth's bulge, or the slight protrusion at the equator, creates an imbalance in the distribution of mass on the planet's surface. This affects the gravitational pull in different areas, causing water to flow uphill towards the bulge and downhill away from it.

3. Is the Earth's bulge the only factor that causes uphill river flow?

No, there are other factors that can contribute to uphill river flow, such as tides and wind patterns. However, the Earth's bulge is a major factor that influences the direction of river flow.

4. Can rivers flow uphill for long distances?

While rivers can flow uphill for short distances, they eventually reach a point where the force of gravity overpowers the uphill gradient and the water starts to flow downhill again. This usually occurs when the gradient becomes too steep or when the water reaches a natural barrier, such as a mountain.

5. How does the Earth's bulge impact the overall flow of a river?

The Earth's bulge can cause a river to flow in a different direction than it would have without the bulge. This can lead to changes in the river's course and the formation of meanders and oxbow lakes. The bulge can also affect the speed and volume of water flow in a river, as well as the sediment and nutrient deposits along its path.

Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
889
Replies
3
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
7K
Replies
7
Views
1K
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
3K