Largest Rivers in South America by Drainage Areas
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Chart 1: Largest Rivers in South America by Drainage Area
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These are the rivers with the largest drainage areas in the South America. The King of rivers, the Amazon River, drains from an enormous area as large as 7,050,000 km2, only slightly smaller than the land area of Australia. The collected water flows along Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Colon before finally emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Paraná River receives inflows from an area of 2,582,672 km2, an area as large as the states of Alaska and Texas combined, flowing along Brazil and Argentina before winding up at the Río de la Plata estuary.

Third-largest is the Madeira–Mamoré–Grande–Caine–Rocha river system with a drainage area of 1,485,200 km2.

Compare the Amazon River with the Paraná River

  Top 30 ranks, by drainage area in descending order

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The full dataset Rivers of the World contains 223 data items and you can smartly rank, query and segment data based on outflow and region.


More on the largest rivers:

The river system, from Amazon River to Ucayali to Tambo to Ene and Apurímac river, is the longest river system in South America at 6,992km, with its drainage area spreading across the width of the South American continent at an area of 7 million square kilometers (largest drainage basin in the world!). The Amazon river system is also the second longest in the world, with the Nile River system pipping slightly ahead at 7,088km.

In terms of discharge volume, the Amazon river system is the largest in the world, discharging at 209,000m3/s onto the Atlantic Ocean.

The Paraná river system is the second longest river system in South America at 4,880 kilometers, after the mighty Amazon river. The Paraná river flows south-westerly through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, before discharging onto Río de la Plata.

The Madeira–Mamoré–Grande–Caine–Rocha river system has a drainage area of 1,485,200km2, third-largest in South America, stretching across Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. It is also the third-largest river system by discharge volume at 31,200m3/s in South America, behind the Orinoco River and the Amazon River.

The Madeira–Mamoré–Grande–Caine–Rocha river system is home to a rich diversity of freshwater fish species, with close to 900 fish species estimated in the Madeira River Basin.


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