watershed

watershed, elevation or divide separating the catchment area, or drainage basin, of one river system or group of river systems from another system or group of systems. The term is also often used synonymously with drainage basin. The continental divide in the US along the Rocky Mts. forms the watershed division between westward-flowing and eastward-flowing streams; the Mississippi watershed extends from the Rockies to the Appalachians. Often the watershed is a range of mountains, the two sides of which have widely different climatic characteristics, as in the Americas and Australia. The low Valdai Hills are an important watershed of Russia.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on watershed from Fact Monster:

  • Australian Alps - Australian Alps Australian Alps, chain of mountain ranges, SE Australia, making up the southern ...
  • Kodok - Kodok Kodok , formerly Fashoda, town, SE Sudan, on the White Nile. In 1898 it was the scene of the ...
  • Little Sioux - Little Sioux Little Sioux , river, 221 mi (356 km) long, rising in SW Minn. and flowing generally ...
  • Cotswold Hills - Cotswold Hills Cotswold Hills , range, mainly in Gloucestershire, W England, extending c.50 mi (80 ...
  • Tarija - Tarija Tarija , city (1992 pop. 90,113), alt. 6,421 ft (1,957 m), capital of Tarija dept., S ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography