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Community

August 1, 2013

Which way do they flow?

We get asked a lot of interesting reference questions during the course of our work day. I had to settle a heated debate between two people concerning the direction that rivers flow. The first individual steadfastly maintained that all rivers flowed south. Period and end of debate. The other person knew that rivers flowed in both directions, but needed some evidence to prove it. Off we went to research it.

First, you should know that a great majority of people believe that all rivers flow south, and it seems to derive from the fact that when we are looking at a map or globe, we consider things to be either “down” or “up” from our position. Using that vantage point, we think that rivers flow “down” to the equator. Actually, water flows downhill in any direction, because it always wants to get to the lowest level as quickly as possible due to the gravitational pull. Compass direction doesn’t matter. And as far as rivers flowing only north to south? Not true. The Nile River, the world’s longest, flows south to north. Other rivers that flow south to north include: St. John’s River in Florida, the San Joaquin River in California, the Red River running through several southern states, the Shennandoah in Virginia and West Virginia, the Ob, Yenisey and Lena Rivers in Russia, and the Mackenzie River in Canada,

to name just a few. Rivers flow in all directions, with the only guiding force being for the water to get from the highest to lowest point.

As far as the debate between the two individuals? Let’s just say, the second individual was one happy camper who left with a thank you, pile of papers, smug smile and an “I KNEW it” resolve.

SUMMER READING

As you garden’s produce starts to come in, you may want to consider preserving some of it for the coming winter. The Culinary Institute’s “Preserving” shows you how to can, preserve and pickle a wide variety of foods. Have a great crop of jalapenos? Dry them for making some great stew and chili recipes during cold weather. Too many tomatoes? Try making jam. These and dozens of other recipes help you take care of your garden’s bounty.

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