One of the most common patterns exhibited by
streams and rivers is called
dendritic drainage. Dendros, the root word, means tree. This
is definitely tree-like with smaller branches attached to larger branches.
The following photograph is a dendritic
drainage basin in Central Wyoming.
The source of the photograph is Google Earth. The length of the basin is
approximately 6 miles. In order to better see the dendritic pattern the
photo credits: Google Earth
better see the dendritic pattern, the measuring tool supplied with Google Earth
was used as a
drawing tool to produce the following picture. Over 2000 linear segments
comprise the following diagram.
Bright yellow was used to color the lines; this color works best on mapping on
top of Google Earth
photographs. The dendritic drainage pattern is now much easier to see.
In the next view, I outlined the drainage basin using
white lines. All of the streams within the basin
contribute to the main large stream.
The background photograph still obscures the dendritic
pattern. Using another one of the tools that
accompanies Google Earth, time of day, I set the view to night-time, turning
most of the photograph black.
The colored lines that were used to trace the dendritic pattern remained
unchanged, producing a dramatic
view. This would be a good illustration for a web presentation, but not
for a printed article; too much
black ink would be needed.
For a printable map, just reverse the colors.
Note that the yellow lines turn blue and the white lines