Sunday, 16 June 2013

What Is The Difference Between a River and a Creek?

If you are like me I have often pondered what the heck is the difference between a river, creek, stream and brook. Investigating this matter on the great and wise web my I found that the word stream, creek and brook are interchangeable amongst themselves. They are quite often specific to the term local’s use. For example creek is very common in Australia whereas stream is found more in England.
So when does a creek or stream turn into a river? Well here is one of the best answers I found.

A river is a repository of fresh water and is a natural water course. It normally flows towards an ocean or sea. It joins a lake or another river too at times. A creek on the other hand is a small stream. A creek can also be a narrow channel between islands.

Geographers define creek as small rivers or rivulets. It is important to know that river is part of hydrological cycle. A creek on the other hand is described as a shallow tributary to a river. One of the main differences between a river and creek is their size. As a matter of fact a river is larger than a creek.

 A river is said to be a natural body of water that leads to an ocean or sea. On the contrary a creek is understood differently by different cultures. In British English creek means a narrow inlet of the sea, probably a sunken river valley. In Australia a creek means almost a river. It is interesting to note that a creek is called by other names such as a brook and a stream too in British English.
Geographers believe that although a creek is smaller than a river, there are some creeks that are considerably larger and longer than some rivers. In fact they are described as stronger than some rivers too. There are some large creeks and small rivers in the United States of America for that matter.

It is no hyperbole that there are few creeks that flow all through the year. Rivers on the other hand sometimes get dried due to extreme heat and precipitation and are likely to gain flow of water during rainy season. It is interesting to note that rivers flow downhill without taking the compass direction into consideration. It is indeed a misconception that rivers flow only from north to south.

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I hope you found this of interest I am planning to bring you more of the sam in the near future. As I hope to clarify terms and words that can confuse the hell out of me.



  1. Ha...I must admit I have not thought about this until now. Quite often though, I ponder a pond vs a lake, although the definition has to do with size.

  2. Yes that is a good question to ponder. At what size does a pond become a lake? Looks like it is something I am going to have to look up.