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South Thompson River

South Thompson River
Thompson River's watershed
EtymologyThe Thompson River was named by Simon Fraser in honour of David Thompson[1]
ProvinceBritish Columbia
DistrictKamloops Division Yale
Physical characteristics
SourceLittle Shuswap Lake
 • coordinates50°49′50″N 119°41′29″W / 50.83056°N 119.69139°W / 50.83056; -119.69139[2]
 • elevation347 m (1,138 ft)[3]
MouthThompson River
 • location
 • coordinates
50°40′50″N 120°20′19″W / 50.68056°N 120.33861°W / 50.68056; -120.33861[2]
 • elevation
336 m (1,102 ft)[3]
Length58 km (36 mi)[4]
Basin size18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi)[4]
 • locationChase[5]
 • average292 m3/s (10,300 cu ft/s)[5]
 • minimum45.3 m3/s (1,600 cu ft/s)
 • maximum1,610 m3/s (57,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
 • leftChase Creek, Monte Creek, Campbell Creek
 • rightNiskonlith Creek

The South Thompson River is the southern branch of the Thompson River, the largest tributary of the Fraser River, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It originates at the outlet of Little Shuswap Lake at the town of Chase and flows approximately 58 kilometres (36 mi) southwest and west through a wide valley to Kamloops where it joins the North Thompson River to form the main stem Thompson River.

Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, and the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway parallel the river. Little Shuswap Lake is fed by the Little River, which drains Shuswap Lake, which is fed by several rivers and creeks.

Before 1982 the river was considered to start at the outlet of Shuswap Lake rather than Little Shuswap Lake, but the short river between Shuswap Lake and Little Shuswap Lake was officially renamed Little River in keeping with long-established local usage.[2]

The South Thompson's main tributaries are Chase Creek, which joins from the south at Chase, Niskonlith Creek, which joins from the north near Niskonlith Lake Provincial Park, Monte Creek, which joins from the south at Monte Creek, and Campbell Creek, which joins from the south.[4]

Geology and vegetation

During the Late Pleistocene, the drainage of the glacial lakes formed the floodplain flanked by deeply carved terraces along both sides of the valley. This glacial recession occurred 11,000 to 11,500 years ago. During the Holocene Climate Optimum (HCO), the postglacial vegetation changed markedly as warmer and dryer conditions replaced cool and moist ones. Douglas fir, grasses and sagebrush increased, while pine declined. Then, a period of cooler and wetter conditions gave way to the modern climate about 4,500 years ago.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Thompson River". BC Geographical Names.
  2. ^ a b c "South Thompson River". BC Geographical Names.
  3. ^ a b Elevation derived from ASTER Global Digital Elevation Model, using GeoLocator, and BCGNIS coordinates
  4. ^ a b c "South Thompson River Watershed Management Study" (PDF). Northwest Hydraulic Consultants and Urban Systems. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Archived Hydrometric Data Search". Water Survey of Canada. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2013. Search for Station 08LE031 South Thompson River at Chase
  6. ^ Hughes, Peter (Jul 2010). Archaeological Impact Assessment: Proposed Upgrade to the Pritchard Waste Water Treatment Plant Infiltration Trench. p. 11 (5). ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
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South Thompson River
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