River bifurcation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bifurcation in Hövelhof, Germany
River deltas such as the pictured delta of the Salween River in Myanmar often show bifurcations. The water flows in from the lower section of the image and passes on both sides of the large island in the center.

River bifurcation (from Latin: furca, fork) occurs when a river flowing in a single stream separates into two or more separate streams (called distributaries) which continue downstream. Some rivers form complex networks of distributaries, especially in their deltas. If the streams eventually merge again or empty into the same body of water, then the bifurcation forms a river island.

River bifurcation may be temporary or semi-permanent, depending on the strength of the material which separates the distributaries. For example, a mid-stream island of soil or silt in a delta is most likely temporary. A location where a river divides around a rock fin, e.g. a volcanically formed dike, or a mountain, may be more lasting. A bifurcation may also be man-made, for example when two streams are separated by a long bridge pier.


  • Canada's aptly-named Divide Creek splits into two branches near Kicking Horse Pass on the Alberta-British Columbia border. One branch flows west to the Pacific Ocean; the other flows east and eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean via Hudson Bay.
  • The Bahr Yussef is a channel which splits off the west side of the Nile and drains into the Birket Qarun, an inland sea in the Fayum Depression. Originally a natural bifurcation for flood waters, its flow was increased by canalisation in the 12th Dynasty (about 1900 BC). Around 230BC, the channel of the Nile from which it came (itself a bifurcation) dried up, but has since been fed by a new canal to allow water again to make it from the Nile to Al Fayyum. The entire waterway is over 300 km long, consisting of modern canals taking Nile water from Asyut to Dairut,[3] the old Nile channel then runs alongside the Nile for over 150 km to Lahun, then the Ancient Egyptian canal carries the water into the Fayum Depression.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognised as an independent state by 108 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ Tomović, Gordana (2006). "Kosovo on old maps from the XV to the XVIII century". Belgrade: Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. 
  2. ^ Alexander Anatolievich Bazelyuk (Базелюк Александр Анатольевич), "АНТРОПОГЕННОЕ ИЗМЕНЕНИЕ ГИДРОГРАФИЧЕСКОЙ СЕТИ КУМО-МАНЫЧСКОЙ ВПАДИНЫ" (Anthropogenic changes in the Hydrographic Network of the Kuma-Manych Depression), summary of the Cand. Sci. dissertation. Rostov-on-Don, 2007. (Russian) Includes maps.
  3. ^ http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=dairut&aq=&sll=27.556982,30.836563&sspn=0.14549,0.264187&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Dairut,+Assiut,+Egypt&ll=27.561966,30.809011&spn=0.036219,0.066047&t=h&z=15
  4. ^ http://www.pajala.se/mun/pajala/www.nsf/English/764B6DC8BFD894E2C1256FB30024F22D?