The Columbia River is one of the largest rivers in North America. It originates from the Rocky Mountains in southern Canada, flows southwest through the United States, and flows into the Pacific Ocean; its largest tributary is the Snake River. From west to east in the basin are the Coastal Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, and the Rocky Mountains, all passing through the basin in a north-south direction, forming the Cordillera Mountains.
The river has low sediment content, a large valley gradient, and strong bedrock resistance, which is conducive to the construction of various water conservancy projects. There are many large and small dams along the main and tributaries of the Columbia River for irrigation and power generation; there are 14 dams on the main river, 3 in Canada and 11 in the United States.
In the Columbia River Basin, with the construction of hydropower projects, flood control, shipping, irrigation, tourism, and other aspects have achieved all-around development and remarkable results. The Columbia River has become the most fully utilized river in the world. Let's find out more facts about the large size of the Columbia River.
Size And Description Of Columbia River
The catchment area of the Colombia River is approximately 670,000 square kilometers. The river basin covers almost the US state of Idaho, most of British Columbia, Canada, the US states of Oregon and Washington, and finally, a small area in other states. About 1,200 kilometers of river length and 85 percent of its watershed are in the United States. The Columbia River is the 12th longest river in the world and has the sixth largest river basin in the United States. The Columbia River in Canada is 748 kilometers long and covers an area of 10.4 square kilometers.
Columbia River Length And Basin Area
The Columbia River has a total length of 2,044 kilometers and a drainage area of 415,000 square kilometers. The maximum width of the basin is 117 kilometers from east to west, and the maximum length from north to south is 1,316 kilometers. The Columbia River has a large water volume, with an average annual flow of 7,860 cubic meters per second in the estuary. The seasonal variation of the water level is small.
|total length||2,044 km|
|catchment size||670,000 sq km|
|drainage area||415,000 sq km|
|average annual discharge||7,860 cu m/s|
The natural runoff of the Columbia River mainly comes from snowfall; the distribution of runoff during the year is uneven, and the water volume from April to July in the flood season accounts for 68% of the annual water volume. The Columbia River's total runoff is second only to the Mississippi River and ranks second in the United States.
The Columbia River Basin has a complex water system, abundant water, many waterfalls and canyons along the way, and many tributaries. Its main tributaries are the Kootenay River, Snake River, Pend Oreille River, Deschutes River, Willamette River, etc. The Snake River is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, with a total length of 1,610 kilometers and a drainage area of 282,000 square kilometers.
In the 1930s, the United States began to comprehensively develop rivers, and many large and small dams were built along the main and tributaries. Among them, the Grand Coulee Dam is the largest, with a height of 168 meters, and Roosevelt Lake, a reservoir behind the dam, is 240 kilometers long, making it the largest hydropower station in the United States. The Columbia River is rich in salmon; a variety of anadromous fish migrate between the Pacific Ocean and freshwater tributaries. The rivers, lakes and reservoirs in the basin have recreational facilities such as boating and fishing.