Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between River and Creek

River vs Creek

More than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water that comes in many forms and sizes.  The largest are the oceans, but there are also several large bodies of water that are on land or in underground caves.  These bodies of water also have different names and are classified according to their sizes and location.

One of the most common bodies of water that can be found in most parts of the world is the river.  Its sources vary; a river might come from melting ice masses or glaciers or underground streams, but rivers mostly come from rain or snow that fall down in high places.  The water will flow down and create a river that goes downhill, making its way towards the ocean.

A river channel can either have a single stream of water or several streams of water connected with each other.  Sometimes a river connects with another river to form a much larger river.  It can also have several branches or tributaries that are either called brooks, runs, kills, or creeks.

Rivers have been very useful to man.  Most cities and towns were built around a river because it provided easy access to the ocean and its soil is rich and suitable for farming and can sustain its inhabitants.  It is a good source of freshwater fish and other edible aquatic animals.  It is also a great source of energy and is used to transport huge objects downstream and to generate power supply.

One other interesting body of water is the creek.  It can be a small stream, an inlet from the sea or a narrow channel that connects islands.  It is often a shallow branch of a river and is much smaller than a river.  While rivers can have several branches or tributaries, a creek does not.

Like a river, fish can also be found in creeks and the vegetation surrounding it is lush.  Although most creeks are smaller than a river, there are several creeks that are in fact larger and longer than some rivers and have stronger currents too.  It depends on its location in how people name a certain body of water.

1. A river is usually bigger than a creek although there are instances that the word creek is used for a larger body of water, depending on the place or country where it is located.
2. Rivers flow in channels and have branches or tributaries while creeks do not.
3. Rivers, especially the very large ones, are important sources of power supply while creeks do not have enough power to be tapped for this purpose.
4. Rivers are a good means of transporting large and heavy objects like logs downstream while creeks are shallow and are too small to allow this.
5. A creek can be formed by water from the sea while a river usually flows out to the sea.

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  1. When I was younger I lived near a creek. Several of my friends and I built a small hut near the creek with power that came from a custom made water turbine. The logs were carried from end to end by a stone logging mill that we build in 2 weeks (4 hours each day.) It IS possible to use a creek for such purposes given that the creek is large enough, and the structure is small enough.

  2. Creeks can (and a vast number do) have tributaries. You can easily see the tributaries flowing into larger creeks on maps.

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