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Meet the Creek that Splits the United States in Half

Move over Panama Canal, there’s another waterway that connects one side of the continent to the other. These waters part ways in Wyoming.
April 23, 2014, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jesus Diaz shares knowledge of the geographic point of interest known as “Parting of the Waters,” found in the Teton Wilderness Area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. There, a mountain stream called North Two Ocean Creek meets the Continental Divide and splits into two streams headed opposite directions. One of the streams becomes Atlantic Creek, flowing 3,488 miles east and then south and joining the Yellowstone, Missouri and Mississippi rivers—finally culminating in the Gulf of Mexico. The other stream becomes Pacific Creek, flowing 1,353 miles west and joining the Snake and Columbia rivers—eventually spilling into the Pacific Ocean.

The MyWyoming tourism site has more on the experience of standing one foot in the Pacific and one foot in the Atlantic.

In case you're curious for more waterway-related nomenclature, the streams flowing away from each other are called distributaries—Parting of the Waters just happens to occur at the Continental Divide. For another famous example, reference the Casiquiare River in South America, which flows away from the Orinoco River toward the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon.

And Wyoming includes another place where distributaries split to eventually find very different bodies of water, according to the MyWyoming tourism site: “[at] Three Waters Mountain, near Union Pass, water wends its way to three different major bodies of water, the Gulf of California (the drop travels 1,300 miles), the Pacific (a 1,400-mile trip), and the Gulf of Mexico (3,000-miles distant).”

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Published on Monday, April 21, 2014 in Sploid
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