Drainage divide

Major drainage divides (red ridgelines[1]) and drainage basins (green regions) in Europe

A drainage divide, water divide, ridgeline,[1] watershed, water parting or height of land is elevated terrain that separates neighboring drainage basins. On rugged land, the divide lies along topographical ridges, and may be in the form of a single range of hills or mountains, known as a dividing range. On flat terrain, especially where the ground is marshy, the divide may be difficult to discern.

A triple divide is a point, often a summit, where three drainage basins meet. A valley floor divide is a low drainage divide that runs across a valley, sometimes created by deposition or stream capture. Major divides separating rivers that drain to different seas or oceans are continental divides.

The term height of land is used in Canada and the United States to refer to a drainage divide.[2] It is frequently used in border descriptions, which are set according to the "doctrine of natural boundaries".[3] In glaciated areas it often refers to a low point on a divide where it is possible to portage a canoe from one river system to another.[4]

  1. ^ a b "ridgeline. Dictionary.com" (Dictionary.com Unabridged ed.). Random House Inc. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  2. ^ Colombo, John Robert (16 December 2013). "Height of land". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014.
  3. ^ Dikshit, Ramesh Dutta (1999). Political Geography: the Spatiality of Politics (3rd ed.). New Delhi: McGraw-Hill. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-07-463578-0.
  4. ^ Decker, Jody F. (2011). "Portages". In Wishart, David J. (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains.

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