why do some rivers flow south to north

Unless the land it totally flat, rivers of water run downhill. A large percentage of the planet's river flow in a southerly direction because the source (
usually in the mountains ) is to the north of the mouth. If the source of a river is at a higher elevation than the mouth, that river will run from the source to the mouth. However, if that (higher) source is to the south of the mouth, that river will then flow to the north ( downhill ). Below is a partial list of rivers ( length listed when known ) that do just that. We have not listed rivers that run to the northwest.


Athabasca Alberta, 765 miles Bann, 80 miles Bighorn Wyoming and Montana, 336 miles Cauca, 597 miles Deschutes Oregon, 250 miles Eel Northern California, 78 miles Erne and, 60 miles Essequibo, 600 miles Fox Wisconsin, 200 miles Genesee New York, 144 miles Jordan Utah, 45 miles Lena, 2735 miles Little Bighorn, Wyoming and Montana, 80 miles Magdalena, 1062 miles Mojave Southern California, 100 miles Monongahela, 128 miles New Virginia and West Virginia, 255 miles Niagara Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, 39 miles Nile, 4150 miles Ob, 2289 miles Oswego New York, 24 miles Otter Creek Vermont, 75 miles Pend Oreille Washington, 62 miles Red Minnesota, North Dakota, (into ), Richelieu Quebec, 208 miles Saginaw Michigan, 20 miles Saint Johns Florida, 275 miles San Pedro (into ), 142 miles Shennandoah Virginia and West Virginia, 55 miles Willamette Oregon, 188 miles Wallkill New Jersey and New York, 88 miles Yenisey, 2548 miles Youghiogheny, 151 miles New River, Ohio?


That's the oldest river in the world IIRC. Susquehanna is two or three. The Appalachians and atlas mountains are some of the oldest in the world.


For example Mt. Nittany in the middle of PA, about 3,000 ft. was once Himalayan size, but all the years worn them down. The thing is that most rivers don't flow north to south. Or, more accurately, I'm not sure what the average is, but there are plenty of rivers that flow in every direction. I think the major US rivers (Mississippi, Hudson, Delaware, Missouri, Susquehanna, Ohio) flow generally N-S, but even there is a difference in west-east alignment. And then the St. Lawrence flows S-N. Anything else is local patterns or frontal.

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