Brahmaputra River

Relief map of Brahmaputra River watershed

The Brahmaputra River extends 1800 miles (2900 km) from its source in the Himalayas of eastern Tibet to its juncture with the Ganges near the Bay of Bengal. During the summer monsoon, when literally feet (meters) of rain fall on portions of its large watershed, it carries an enormous quantity of water -- over 2 million cubic feet (57,000 m3) per second. This can drop to less than 200,000 cubic feet (5700 m3) per second during the dry season. These drastic seasonal changes in flow cause unusually rapid changes in the channel of the river, which is a hindrance to navigation. Nevertheless, river steamers could navigate as far north as Digboi most of the year during the early 20th century.

The river drops enormous quantities of sediment in its delta, producing the very fertile farmland of the Sunderbans. Unfortunately, periodic disastrous flooding, both from the river itself and from cyclones off the Bay of Bengal, has taken countless lives over the centuries.

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