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Find-A-Feature: Confluence

Have you seen one river flow into another? Or, perhaps rain drops flowing down a window? For this Find-A-Feature challenge, we challenge you to look around you for examples of where water channels meet, known as a confluence.

Have you ever noticed what happens when two lines of people, or two lanes of traffic, must merge together into one line or lane? Do the people or cars begin to mingle? Is there a change in energy and flow? Now think about what happens when two streams of water come together. This area is called a confluence, and we challenge you to find an example of a confluence in the world around you.

A confluence occurs when two or more flowing bodies of water join together to form a single channel. Confluences occur where a tributary joins a larger river, where two rivers join to create a third or, where two separated channels of a river, having formed an island, rejoin downstream. Perhaps you've watched raindrops trailing down a window and seen two paths merge. That is a confluence! Confluences are important to the ecology of a stream because they often mark where changes in river energy, chemistry, and habitat take place.  

For kids and learners: Let's take a minute to think about that word "confluence." It is not something you hear in everyday talk, but you are probably familiar with its parts. Does "fluence" sound like fluid to you? It should - they have the same root. Meanwhile, "Con" at the beginning of a word, often means together, life in converge or congregate - in fact they even use it in Comic-Con! So confluence means, literally, fluids coming together. 

Can you find a confluence near you? Show us what you see!  Send your pic to or #findafeature on social media.


We'll be watching Instagram and Twitter for some great #findafeature examples and may share them here with the first name or initials of the contributor, and a general location. If you tag us with @USGS_YES you are giving us permission to use your image. Please see the USGS social media sharing policy at: Or, you can e-mail photos to us at and we may share them on this page or on social media. Thanks for participating and for seeing science all around you!