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An anabranch is a section of a
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
or
stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the No ...

stream
that diverts from the main
channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Country, region of outback Austr ...
or
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some other structure ** Stipe (mycology), the stem supporting the c ...
of the
watercourse A watercourse is the channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Co ...

watercourse
and rejoins the main stem downstream. Local anabranches can be the result of small
islands in the watercourse
islands in the watercourse
. In larger anabranches, the flow can diverge for a distance of several kilometers before rejoining the main channel.


Word usage and related terms

The term ''anabranch'', in its
hydrological Hydrology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
meaning, is used more frequently in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
than in the rest of the English-speaking world. The term ''anabranching river'' describes a
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
with many anabranches, whilst an
anastomosing river
anastomosing river
is an organic-rich subset of this
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
type. The term
braided river A braided river, or braided channel, consists of a network of river channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of ...
describes
watercourse A watercourse is the channel Channel, channels, channeling, etc., may refer to: Geography * Channel (geography), in physical geography, a landform consisting of the outline (banks) of the path of a narrow body of water. Australia * Channel Co ...

watercourse
s which are divided by small
islands An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...

islands
into multiple channel threads within a single main channel, but the term does not describe the multiple channels of an anabranching river. A
distributary A distributary, or a distributary channel, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literall ...
is a branch of a
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...

river
that does not rejoin the main channel; these are common on and near
river delta A river delta is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of the solid surface of the Earth or other planetary body A planet is an astronomical body Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the ...

river delta
s. A
bayou In usage in the Southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, Dixie, the Southland, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural region In geography Geography ...

bayou
is often an anabranch. An anabranch that gets cut off from the main channel becomes an
oxbow lake An oxbow lake is a U-shaped lake that forms when a wide meander File:rio-cauto-cuba.JPG, Meanders of the ''Cauto River, Rio Cauto'' at Guamo Embarcadero, Cuba A meander is one of a series of regular sinuous curves in the channel of a river o ...

oxbow lake
.


Examples

* The
Magdalena River The Magdalena River ( es, Río Magdalena, ; less commonly ) is the main river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground ...
, in Colombia, bifurcates in El Banco in two branches: Brazo de Loba (Shewolf Branch in Spanish) and Brazo de Mompox. The first one, Brazo de Loba is the main navigable channel and is 177 km long. Brazo de Mompox is thus the anabranch. There are several other branches that join those two main branches, interconnected by swamps ("ciénagas"), the main ones being Quitasol, Chicagua and La Victoria. Between Brazo de Loba and Brazo de Mompox is the island of Mompox or Margarita Island, a sunken geological block of 2.200 square km between the faults of Chicagua and El Romeral. * In the
Fraser River The Fraser River is the longest river within British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lan ...

Fraser River
delta of
British Columbia ( en, Splendour without diminishment) , image_map = British Columbia in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = None , Slogan = Beautiful British C ...

British Columbia
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, North Arm Fraser River, Middle Arm Fraser River, and South Arm Fraser River each fall into
Georgia Strait The Strait of Georgia (french: Détroit de Géorgie) or the Georgia Strait is an arm of the Salish Sea , image = PNW-straits.jpg , alt = , caption = The Salish Sea, showing the open Pacific Ocean at ...
separately. On the other hand,
Annacis Island Annacis Island is a narrow island located in the south arm of the Fraser River in Delta, British Columbia, lying between Lulu Island to the north and the Delta mainland to the south. The island is now mostly industrial, and it contains one of Metr ...

Annacis Island
splits (South Arm) Fraser River into the (main) Annieville Channel and the (smaller) Annacis Channel, which rejoin below the island. * In western
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
the Great Darling Anabranch is the ancestral path of the
Darling River The Darling River (Paakantyi (Darling language), Barkindji: ''Baaka'' or ''Barka'') is the third-longest river in Australia, measuring from its source in northern New South Wales to its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth, New South ...

Darling River
, dividing south of
Menindee Menindee (frequently but erroneously spelled "Menindie" ) is a small town in the far west of New South Wales, Australia, in Central Darling Shire, on the banks of the Darling River, with a sign-posted population of 980 and a population of 551. ...
and extending for 460 km before joining the
Murray River The Murray River (in South Australia: River Murray) (Ngarrindjeri language, Ngarrindjeri: ''Millewa'', Yorta Yorta language, Yorta Yorta: ''Tongala'') is a river in south-eastern Australia. It is list of rivers of Australia#Longest river ...

Murray River
. The anabranch contains flowing water only in wetter years. * In the Lower Simpson Desert, in
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
, Kallakoopah Creek is an anabranch of the
Warburton River The Warburton River (or Warburton Creek) is a freshwater stream in the far north of South Australia that flows in a south westerly direction and discharges into the eastern side of Lake Eyre. It is one of the state's largest rivers, and is part o ...

Warburton River
that flows during major Warburton floods of over 5 m in depth. The Kallakoopah is approximately 400 km long and members of the Lake Eyre Yacht Club and others have used it to sail a circular route to
Lake Eyre Lake Eyre ( ), officially known as Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, is an endorheic lake An endorheic lake (also called a sink lake or terminal lake) is a collection of water within an endorheic basin An endorheic basin (; also spelled endore ...

Lake Eyre
by traveling down the Kallakoopah and returning via the Warburton. * The
Bahr el Zeraf The Bahr el Zeraf ( ar, بَـحْـر الـزّرَاف, Baḥr ez-Zerāf, also spelt Bahr az-Zaraf, Bahr ez Zeraf, and Baḩr az Zarāf), or Zeraf River in the English language, is an Anabranch, arm of the White Nile in the Sudd region of South ...
in southern
Sudan Sudan ( or ; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It borders the countries of Central African Republ ...

Sudan
splits from the Bahr al Jabal section of the
White Nile The White Nile ( ar, النيل الأبيض ') is a river in Africa, one of the two main tributaries A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom ...

White Nile
and flows for 240 km (150 mi), before rejoining the White Nile proper upriver from
Malakal Malakal is a city in South Sudan South Sudan (), officially known as the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country in East Africa, east/central Africa. It is bordered to the east by Ethiopia, to the north by Sudan, to the west by ...

Malakal
. * Approximately 15 km out of
Charters Towers Charters Towers is a rural town in the Charters Towers Region The Charters Towers Region is a local government area A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , co ...
(
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
/
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
) is a section of the
Burdekin River The Burdekin River is a river located in North Queensland, North and Far North Queensland, Australia. The river rises on the northern slopes of Boulder Mountain at Valley of Lagoons, part of the western slope of the Seaview Range, and flows into ...
known as 'the anabranch'. This strip of water is separate from the main flood way, and is typically dry during the sunnier months. Once there is consistent rain, it will meet up with the river again and flood with fresh water. It is well known for barramundi fishing. * Probably because waterways played an important role in infrastructure, anabranches and the resulting river islands are often found in old cities ** The
Île de la Cité The Île de la Cité (; English: City Island) is an island in the river Seine in the center of Paris. In the 4th century, it was the site of the fortress of the Roman governor. In 508 Clovis I, the first King of the Franks, established his pal ...

Île de la Cité
in Paris **Manhattan, in New York.


References

{{Authority control Fluvial landforms Rivers Water streams
Geomorphology Geomorphology (from the Greek words ''Ge'' = earth, ''morfe'' = form and ''logos'' = study) is the science of surface features and landforms including the forces and processes that create them. Geomorphology has strong ties to geologic structure, ...