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Mackenzie River

Biggest River on Earth ::--|| 1.Nile River|| 2.Amazon River|| 3.Yangtze River|| 4.Missisipi River|| 5.Yenisei River|| 6.Yellow River|| 7.Ob River|| 8.Parana River|| 9.Congo River|| 10.Amur River|| 11.Lena River|| 12.Mekong River|| 13.Mackenzie River|| 14.Niger River|| 15.Murray/Darling River|| 16.Tocantins River|| 17.Volga River|| 18.Purus River|| 19.Madeira River|| 20.Sao Francisco River||List of River's.||

Mackenzie River

The Mackenzie River (Dene: Deh-Cho, big river) is the largest river system in Canada. It flows through a vast, isolated region of forest and tundra entirely within the country's Northwest Territories, although its many tributaries reach into four other Canadian provinces and territories. The river's mainstem runs 1,738 kilometres (1,080 mi) in a northerly direction to the Arctic Ocean, draining a vast area nearly the size of Indonesia. It is the largest river flowing into the Arctic from North America, and with its tributaries is one of the longest rivers in the world.


Rising out of the marshy western end of Great Slave Lake, the Mackenzie River flows generally west-northwest for about 300 km (190 mi), passing the hamlets of Fort Providence and Brownings Landing. At Fort Simpson it is joined by the Liard River, its largest tributary, then swings towards the Arctic, paralleling the Franklin Mountains as it receives the North Nahanni River. The Keele River enters from the left about 100 km (62 mi) above Tulita, where the Great Bear River joins the Mackenzie. Just before crossing the Arctic Circle, the river passes Norman Wells, then continues northwest to merge with the Arctic Red and Peel rivers. It finally empties into the Beaufort Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean, through the vast Mackenzie Delta.
Most of the Mackenzie River is a broad, slow-moving waterway; its elevation drops just 156 metres (512 ft) from source to mouth. It is a braided river for much of its length, characterized by numerous sandbars and side channels. The river ranges from 2 to 5 km (1.2 to 3.1 mi) wide and 8 to 9 m (26 to 30 ft) deep in most parts, and is thus easily navigable except when it freezes over in the winter. However, there are several spots where the river narrows to less than half a kilometre (0.3 mi) and flows quickly, such as at the Sans Sault Rapids at the confluence of the Mountain River and "The Ramparts", a 40 m (130 ft) deep canyon south of Fort Good Hope.


At 1,805,200 square kilometres (697,000 sq mi), the Mackenzie River's watershed or drainage basin is the largest in Canada, encompassing nearly 20% of the country. From its farthest headwaters at Thutade Lake in the Omineca Mountains to its mouth, the Mackenzie stretches for 4,241 km (2,635 mi) across western Canada, making it the longest river system in the nation and the thirteenth longest in the world.The river discharges more than 325 cubic kilometres (78 cu mi) of water each year, accounting for roughly 11% of the total river flow into the Arctic Ocean. The Mackenzie's outflow holds a major role in the local climate above the Arctic Ocean with large amounts of warmer fresh water mixing with the cold seawater.

Mackenzie River
The Mackenzie River in August 2009
Name origin: Alexander Mackenzie, explorer
Country Canada
Region Northwest Territories
 - left Liard River, Keele River,Arctic Red River, Peel River
 - right Great Bear River
Cities Fort Providence, Fort Simpson,Wrigley, Tulita, Norman Wells
Source Great Slave Lake
 - location Fort Providence
 - elevation 156 m (512 ft)
 - coordinates 61°12′15″N 117°22′31″W
Mouth Arctic Ocean
 - location Mackenzie Delta
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 68°56′23″N 136°10′22″W
Length 1,738 km (1,080 mi)
Basin 1,805,200 km2 (696,992 sq mi) 
Discharge for mouth; max and min at Arctic Red confluence
 - average 9,910 m3/s (349,968 cu ft/s)
 - max 31,800 m3/s (1,123,000 cu ft/s)
 - min 2,130 m3/s (75,220 cu ft/s)
Map of the Mackenzie River watershed

Many major watersheds of North America border on the drainage of the Mackenzie River. Much of the western edge of the Mackenzie basin runs along the Continental Divide. The divide separates the Mackenzie watershed from that of the Yukon River and its headstreams the Pelly and Stewart rivers, which flow to the Bering Strait; and the Fraser River and Columbia River systems, both of which run to the Pacific Ocean. Lowland divides in the north distinguish the Mackenzie basin from those of the Anderson, Horton, Coppermine and Back Rivers – all of which empty into the Arctic. Eastern watersheds bordering on that of the Mackenzie include those of the Thelon and Churchill Rivers, both of which flow into Hudson Bay. On the south, the Mackenzie watershed borders that of the North Saskatchewan River, part of the Nelson River system, which empties into Hudson Bay after draining much of south-central Canada.

Through its many tributaries, the Mackenzie River basin covers portions of five Canadian provinces and territories – British Columbia (BC), Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The two largest headwaters forks, the Peace and Athabasca Rivers, drain much of the central Alberta prairie and the Rocky Mountains in northern BC then combine into the Slave River at the Peace-Athabasca Delta near Lake Athabasca, which also receives runoff from northwestern Saskatchewan. The Slave is the primary feeder of Great Slave Lake (contributing about 77% of the water); other inflows include the Taltson, Lockhart and Hay Rivers, the latter of which also extends into Alberta and BC. Direct tributaries of the Mackenzie from the west such as the Liard and Peel Rivers carry runoff from the mountains of the eastern Yukon.
The eastern portion of the Mackenzie basin is dominated by vast reaches of lake-studded boreal forest and includes many of the largest lakes in North America. By both volume and surface area, Great Bear Lake is the biggest in the watershed and third largest on the continent, with a surface area of 31,153 km2 (12,028 sq mi) and a volume of 2,236 km3 (536 cu mi). Great Slave Lake is slightly smaller, with an area of 28,568 km2 (11,030 sq mi) and containing 2,088 km3 (501 cu mi) of water, although it is significantly deeper than Great Bear. The third major lake, Athabasca, is less than a third that size with an area of 7,800 km2 (3,000 sq mi). Six other lakes in the watershed cover more than 1,000 km2 (390 sq mi), including the Williston Lake reservoir, the second-largest artificial lake in North America, on the Peace River.
With an average annual flow of 9,910 m3/s (350,000 cu ft/s), the Mackenzie River has the highest discharge of any river in Canada and is the fourteenth largest in the world in this respect. About 60% of the water comes from the western half of the basin, which includes the Rocky, Selwyn, and Mackenzie mountain ranges out of which spring major tributaries such as the Peace and Liard Rivers, which contribute 23% and 27% of the total flow, respectively. In contrast the eastern half, despite being dominated by marshland and large lakes, provides only about 25% of the Mackenzie's discharge. During peak flow in the spring, the difference in discharge between the two halves of the watershed becomes even more marked. While large amounts of snow and glacial melt dramatically drive up water levels in the Mackenzie's western tributaries, large lakes in the eastern basin retard springtime discharges. Breakup of ice jams caused by sudden rises in temperature – a phenomenon especially pronounced on the Mackenzie – further exacerbate flood peaks. In full flood, the Peace River can carry so much water that it inundates its delta and backs upstream into Lake Athabasca, and the excess water can only flow out after the Peace has receded.

The Mackenzie (previously Disappointment) River was named after Alexander Mackenzie, who travelled the river in the hope it would lead to the Pacific Ocean, but instead reached its mouth on the Arctic Ocean on 14 July 1789. In the Dene languages it is called Deh Cho.
The Royal Canadian Mint honoured the 200th anniversary of the naming of the Mackenzie River with the issue of a silver commemorative dollar in 1989.
In 2008, Canadian and Japanese researchers extracted a constant stream of natural gas from a test project at the Mallik methane hydrate field in the Mackenzie Delta. This was the second such drilling at Mallik: the first took place in 2002 and used heat to release methane. In the 2008 experiment, researchers were able to extract gas by lowering the pressure, without heating, requiring significantly less energy. The Mallik gas hydrate field was first discovered by Imperial Oil in 1971–1972.