Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
For other uses, see Mackenzie River (disambiguation)
The Mackenzie River originates in Great Slave Lake and flows north into the Arctic Ocean. It is the longest river in Canada and, together with its headstreams, the Peace River and the Finlay River , the second longest river in North America at 4241 km in length. The Mississippi-Missouri is longer. The Mackenzie and its tributaries drain 1,805,200 square kilometers. Its mean discharge is 9,700 cubic metres per second.
The large marshy delta of the Mackenzie River provides habitat for migrating Snow Geese, Tundra Swans and Brant as well as breeding habitat for other waterfowl. The estuary is a calving area for Beluga whales.
The river is navigable for approximately five months of the year. It freezes over in October and the ice on the river breaks up in May. During the winter months, sections of the river are used as an ice road .
The Mackenzie was named after Alexander Mackenzie who travelled the river while trying to reach the Pacific Ocean. The divide between the Mackenzie basin and the basin of the Yukon River to the west forms the central portion of the boundary between Northwest Territories and the Yukon.
The Mackenzie River system includes:
and the following rivers:
- Arctic Red
- Fond du Lac
- Fort Nelson
- South Nahanni
- Information and a map of the Mackenzie's watershed
- Atlas of Canada's page devoted to Arctic rivers of Canada.
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