Longest Rivers on Earth

The Top 20 longest Rivers on Earth

10. Lena River (Asia) – 2,915 miles (4,692 km)

Lena River
Shannon1, Lena River basin, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob and the Yenisey). With a mean annual discharge of 588 cubic kilometers per year, it is the second largest of the Arctic rivers (after the Yenisey). It is the largest river whose catchment is entirely within the Russian territorial boundaries. Permafrost underlies most of the catchment, with 77% of the catchment containing continuous permafrost.

9. Congo River (Africa) – 3,004 miles (4,835 km)

Congo River
Kmusser, Congobasinmap, CC BY-SA 4.0

The great Congo River, formerly known as the Zaire River under the Mobutu regime, is the second longest river in Africa, shorter only than the Nile, as well as the second largest river in the world by discharge volume, following only the Amazon. It is also the world’s deepest recorded river, with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft).

8. Yellow River (Asia) – 3,011 miles (4,845 km)

Yellow River
Shannon1, Yellowrivermap, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Yellow River or Huang He is originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of Western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. Its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. There are frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed, sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields.

7. Amur River (Asia) – 3,139 miles (5,052 km)

Amur River
Kmusser, Amurrivermap, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Amur River is forming the border between the Russian Far East and Northeastern China (Inner Manchuria). The largest fish species in the Amur is the kaluga, attaining a length as great as 5.6 metres (18 ft). The river basin is home to a variety of large predatory fish such as northern snakehead, Amur pike, taimen, Amur catfish, predatory carp and yellowcheek, as well as the northernmost populations of the Amur softshell turtle and Indian lotus.

6. Ob River (Asia) – 3,362 miles (5,410 km)

Ob river
anonymous, Ob river basin map, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Ob River, also Ob, is a major river in western Siberia, Russia. It forms at the confluence of the Biya and Katun Rivers which have their origins in the Altay Mountains. It is the westernmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Yenisei River and the Lena River).

5. Yenisei River (Asia) – 3,442 miles (5,540 km)

Yenisei river
Kmusser, Yeniseirivermap, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Yenisei also Romanised Yenisey, Enisei, Jenisej, is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob and the Lena). Rising in Mongolia, it follows a northerly course to the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea, draining a large part of central Siberia, the longest stream following the Yenisei-Angara-Selenga-Ider river system.

4. Mississippi River (North America) – 3,760 miles (6,051 km)

Mississippi river
Shannon1, Mississippiriver-new-01, CC BY-SA 4.0

The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.