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  • What is the largest delta on Earth, formed by confluence of three major rivers?

    Posted on November 16th, 2010 admin No comments

    First correct answer was from @paulsmoffett:  The Ganges Delta is the largest delta on Earth.

    The Ganges Delta is formed by confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers, and some smaller streams.  Depending on how you look at it, the Ganges and Hooghly might look like one river, and the Brahmaputra and Meghna as one other river.  The Meghna River is actually a combination of a major distributary of the Ganges and a major distributary of the Brahmaputra.  It’s all tangled.  The Ganges and Brahmaputra have clearly separate headwaters, but as they approach the Bay of Bengal, they seem to turn into one huge braided river with many different names.  And they all empty into the denser braids of the Ganges Delta.

    One reason the Ganges Delta is so large is that so many rivers contribute to it.  Another is that each river has a heavy silt load compared to most rivers on Earth.  Most of the rivers feeding the Ganges Delta drain large areas of the rapidly eroding Himalayas, providing rich silt to the delta.

    The Ganges Delta encompasses huge wilderness areas, including the largest mangrove swamp in the world, the Sundarbans.  It also supports nearly 150 million people with its rich soil and fisheries.

    The Ganges Delta comprises much of the nation of Bangladesh, and much of the state of West Bengal, India.

    The Ganges Delta is subject to frequent flooding due to the hydrology of the wide, shallow Bay of Bengal directing typhoons to it.  Even lesser storms on the Bay of Bengal can cause serious flooding.  Flooding in the Ganges Delta is likely to become much worse in the future.  Not only is the sea rising due to global warming, the land around the Ganges Delta is subsiding as a result of the continuing tectonic collision of the Indian Subcontinent with Asia.

    More about the Ganges Delta:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganges_Delta

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