There is a continental divide in each continent except Antarctica. A continental divide is what separates each drainage basin from the others. The continental divides help show us what direction rivers are flowing and draining into the seas and oceans.
The most popular continental divide that most people know about is the one that flows through the Andes and Rocky Mountains. The majority of the continents have more than one continental divide. Several rivers have their flow going into bodies of water that are inland.
America’s Continental Divide
The continent of America’s continental divide is the divider that separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean’s water flow. The continental divide’s east side drains the snow or rain into the Atlantic Ocean, while its west side drains it into the Pacific Ocean. America’s continental divide extends from the northwest area of Canada towards New Mexico by going through the Rocky Mountains, and then it reaches South America by going through the Andes Mountains.
The Many Other Divides of America
If you think that a continent would have only a single continental divide, then you should know that it isn’t true. There are many divides in the continents. The water flow can be divided into several groups. These are the groups of the divides:
- The rivers that are at the Rocky Mountain’s eastern side and the U.S.-Canada border’s northern side flow towards the Arctic Ocean.
- The majority of Central U.S. rivers are flowing through the Mississippi River and towards the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it indirect drainage into the Atlantic Ocean.
- The entirety of Central America and eastern Mexico’s rivers flow towards the Gulf of Mexico, which also makes it indirectly drain into the Atlantic Ocean.
- The Great Lakes’ surrounding rivers, as well as the rivers that are close to the U.S. and Canada’s east coast, flow towards the Atlantic Ocean.
- There is a real west-to-east continental divide in South America. All flowing rivers to the Andes Mountains’ east flow towards the Atlantic Ocean, while every river to its west flows towards the Pacific Ocean.
The Other Continents’ Numerous Divides
The continental divides of the other continents that aren’t the Americas are less challenging to discuss since the drainage expands over all of the different continents.
- The Pacific Ocean – The east coasts of Australia and Asia’s rivers all end up in the Pacific Ocean. The countries that are included are China and most of the countries in South East Asia, as well as all of the Pacific Islands that are spread around the Pacific Ocean.
- The Atlantic Ocean – All of the rivers that are on the west coast of Africa and Europe end up in the Atlantic Ocean.
- The Indian Ocean – The rivers of the countries that are around the Indian Ocean end up in it, which includes India, the Middle East, South East Asia, India and most of Australia flow into it.
- The Arctic Ocean – The majority of the rivers in Russia lead to the Arctic Ocean.
- The Mediterranean Sea – The rivers in southern Europe, as well as rivers in northern Africa, lead to the Mediterranean Sea.