Key Facts about Mackenzie River

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Canada's longest river, the Mackenzie, is experiencing historically low water levels.

About Mackenzie River:

  • The Mackenzie River system is the second largest river system on the North American continent, after only the Mississippi-Missouri River system.
  • It is also Canada’s largest and longest river basin and is the 10th largest river basin in the world.
  • The Mackenzie River system flows along a course of 4,241 kilometers from its headwaters in the Finlay River to its drainage into the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean.
  • The Mackenzie itself is 1,025 miles (1,650 km) long. The river is generally wide, mostly from 1 to 2 miles (1.6 to 3.2 km) across, and in island-dotted sections, 3 to 4 miles (4.8 to 6.4 km) wide.
  • The Mackenzie and its tributaries together drain an area of about 1.8 million, which represents about 20% of Canada’s total land area. 
  • Its lake-covered triangular delta measures more than 120 miles (190 km) from north to south and is about 50 miles (80 km) wide along the Arctic shore.
  • The Peace, Athabasca, and Liard Rivers are some of the most important tributaries of the Mackenzie. 

A number of lakes, like the Lake Athabasca, Great Slave Lake, and Great Bear Lake, also form notable parts of the Mackenzie River system.

Q1: What are deltas?

Deltas form as rivers empty their water and sediment into another body of water, such as an ocean, lake, or another river.Although very uncommon, deltas can also empty into land.

Source: Mackenzie River in Canada Reaches Historic Low Levels, Stranding Communities