Resources for Teachers

Find A Feature

Welcome to Find-A-Feature Photo Challenge! Each month we will showcase a new geological or ecological feature and challenge you to find something similar in your neighborhood. There is science everywhere - take a look around!

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 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; they often mark where changes in river energy, chemistry, and habitat to 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 in your home town? Show us what you see!  Send your pic to or #findafeature on social media.


Current Challenge Instructions and Gallery



We'll be watching Instagram for some great examples, and sharing them here with the first name or initials of the contributor, and a general location only. If you tag us with @usgs_yes you are giving us permission to use your image. If you use #findafeature and #usgs we will see it, but we won't use it. Please see the USGS Social-Use page for our social media sharing policy.