River basins of the world
November 10, 2017 5:54 AM   Subscribe

This is the ideal MetaFilter post. You may not like it, but this is what peak perspicuity looks like.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:30 AM on November 10 [10 favorites]

I can't get it to do anything more than show the basin outline and its name. Am I doing it wrong?
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:43 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

Their shape file is for shit! They have basins overlapping and empty space between... There was too much map reduction in the shape definition. Things like this make me cry. Don't even get me started with two adjacent basins with the same color.

With that said, I am currently scraping the website and have started downloading all the shapefiles.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:52 AM on November 10 [8 favorites]

I had no idea there was an endorheic basin in Saskatchewan. Neat!
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:42 AM on November 10 [3 favorites]

Thanks for this link to The Interactive Database of the World's River Basins, an interactive database of the world's river basins.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 8:46 AM on November 10 [9 favorites]

This reminds me of messing around with ArcMap at lunchtime, looking at data that you don't normally use.
posted by Bee'sWing at 9:53 AM on November 10

In case others are confused, some of the empty spaces at the edges of waterbodies are where there are many tiny watersheds with tiny streams rather than rivers.

I always enjoy comparing the Great Lakes watershed to the Mississippi watershed - so much drainage into the latter and so much water in the former.
posted by hydrobatidae at 9:58 AM on November 10

Johnny Assay, I think there are a bunch of saline lakes in Saskatchewan. At least, I worked at another one, Redberry Lake.
posted by hydrobatidae at 10:01 AM on November 10

Hang on... it turns out that this is an interactive database of the world's river basins. Misleading title and post!
posted by greenhornet at 10:10 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

there are a bunch of saline lakes in Saskatchewan.

They're quite common, and are mostly in Saskatchewan, but are all across the northern planes, from the Dakotas to the NWT and from Manitoba to Alberta. Sloughs ("Slews") is the local name for them. They're highly associated with the formations that have oil and bitumen in them too, though they're in somewhat different layers.
posted by bonehead at 10:22 AM on November 10 [2 favorites]

It's nice to finally get some recognition.
posted by endorheic basin in Saskatchewan at 10:30 AM on November 10 [21 favorites]

I remember being told that the difference between a lake and a slough was that a lake had a river flowing out of it.
posted by clawsoon at 10:33 AM on November 10

Clawsoon, I think you're technically correct, though that's complicated by the many lakes in that area that are level-controlled and so have been made into static endorheics.

Many of my farmer relatives from north Saskatchewan call anything that's salt a slough and anything that's fresh a lake or a pond.
posted by bonehead at 11:22 AM on November 10 [1 favorite]

Does what it says on the tin!
posted by etherist at 11:30 AM on November 10

Huh, in the PNW a slew is probably slowly moving but they drain to a lake or sea. Although maybe they all drain to salt water and were brackish when named.
posted by clew at 11:56 AM on November 10

We have the Columbia Slough in Portland which is a part of the Columbia River floodplain.
posted by aniola at 12:10 PM on November 10

Yes, here in the Pacific NW I think of a slough as a lesser-used branch or offshoot of a river, within the floodplain. I would expect one to be freshwater, and to both flow from and flow to a river on both ends. I guess I think of a slough as being slow moving water, but I don't have any basis for that.

It's cool to hear that this means something different (possibly the exact opposite) elsewhere! Should we now argue over creek, crick, and stream?
posted by Secretariat at 12:24 PM on November 10

Sloughs ("Slews")

damn, I always hoped that word was pronounced "sluffs"
posted by supermedusa at 1:35 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]

damn, I always hoped that word was pronounced "sluffs"

That's when you're talking about skin or something similar coming off. Same spelling.
posted by curious nu at 2:04 PM on November 10 [2 favorites]

And to confuse matters further, the town named Slough in the UK (semi-famous as the setting of the original version of The Office) is pronounced to rhyme with "now" and "cow".
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:25 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]

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