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The Sediment Yield of Major Rivers of the World


  • John N. Holeman


The amount of suspended sediment transported by rivers to the seas each year is tabulated. The major rivers are ranked in order of tons of sediment transported per year and drainage area and water discharge data are included. The rivers are listed by, continents in subsequent tables with data on drainage area, annual sediment yields in tons, sediment production rates in tons per square mile per year, the years of sediment measurement, and the sources of data. This sample represents more than one-third of the land contributing water-borne sediment to the seas and, if representative, indicates an annual world sediment yield of 20 billion (20 × 109) tons. The data suggest that Africa, Europe, and Australia have very low sediment yields (<120 tons per square mile per year), South America's rate is low, North America's is moderate, and Asia's is high to the degree of yielding up to 80% of the sediment reaching the oceans annually.

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