Stream order

The stream order or waterbody order is a positive whole number used in geomorphology and hydrology to indicate the level of branching in a river system.

There are various approaches[1] to the topological ordering of rivers or sections of rivers based on their distance from the source ("top down"[2]) or from the confluence (the point where two rivers merge) or river mouth ("bottom up"[3]), and their hierarchical position within the river system. As terminology, the words "stream" and "branch" tend to be used rather than "river".

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