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What are Riverine Islands? – Formation, Types, and Examples

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A riverine island is a solid foundation and a place between two parallel rivers or in the middle of a river. It can also be formed in a large river if the river has two large streams and a small islet between them. There are more than a thousand river islands in the world. These are places with water all around, and these places have beautiful and amazing views.  River islands are of course the result of river flow. As we all know, most of these islands are naturally formed and tectonic. 

The place that lies between two parallel rivers or in the middle of a river is called Riverine Island. But the ground in the middle of the river must be firm and not be below the water level. Some of the islands in the river are so large that millions of people live there.

Formation of Riverine Islands

Natural river islands are basically formed between two rivers or where rivers have two streams. Before the formation of Riverine Island, let’s take a close look at the river’s formation. River formation takes place on a hill or where many small streams converge into a large stream. There are two kinds of natural river formations. The first is rainwater through small streams. And the second is the melting of the glaciers on the hills. 

A river flows from high sea level to low sea level. In summer, when the ice starts to melt, it flows down to flat fields and forms rivers. When water flows from top to bottom for a long distance, it is called a river.  A solid foundation in the middle of this river is called Riverine Island. Water always flows around these riverine islands.

Different types of Riverine Islands

Following are a few types:

  • Seasonal Island: Seasonal islands are temporary islands that form mainly during the rainy season. These islands are no more when summer comes because the water in these rivers usually dries down in the summer. 
  • Permanent Island: We all know that some rivers always flow persistently or are evergreen in all seasons. The islets of these types of rivers are permanent and some of them are habitable. The inhabitants of many small islands live there and do everything possible there, such as fishing, farming, and several other works.
  • Flooded Island: Some islands in the river only forms when there is a flood. When the flood water level drops, these islands are no longer islands. 
  • Single River island: Single river islands create a solid foundation in the middle of the river. Water flows around the islands. These types of islets are formed at a sharp bend of the river. 
  • Parallel River Island: When two parallel rivers flow together and a solid place naturally forms between these rivers, they are called parallel river islands. There are very few naturally formed parallel river islands available. The maximum available river islands are single river islands. 
  • Coastline River Island: Most of the rivers end up on oceanic coastlines. River islets that naturally form the coastline on the other side are called coastal river islands.
  • Habitable river islands: Habitable river islands are islands with comfortable inhabitants. There are thousands of islands available where people can live with basic needs. But the life of the people living here is very difficult. It’s really hard to live on small islands in the middle of the river like this.  For example, when you visit the river islands, you can also see a small primary school on the island where children travel by craft small boats from other islands.

How is the Delta different from Riverine Islands?

The Single-stream river which is also called the snow-made river flows to the plains through the mountains and hills. As the stream crosses the fields, the water covers a larger area on a flat surface. Before falling into the ocean, sometimes a triangular shape is created by it on the land by water. This triangular shape is called Delta. Riverine Islands can be formed in any shape and anywhere. It just needs water in the surroundings. Most of the Riverine islands are made on plains.

List of a few well-known Riverine Islands in India

  1. Majuli Island in Brahmaputra river.
  2. Salsette Island in Ulhas river.
  3. Kabirvad Island in Narmada river.
  4. Mandhata Island in Narmada river.
  5. Nongkhnum Island in Meghalaya
  6. Munroe Island in Kerala
  7. Bhavani Island in Andhra Pradesh 

Largest and smallest Riverine Islands

Majuli Island

Majuli Island holds the world record for the largest river island in the world which is located in India. Majuli Island was formed on the Brahmaputra River in the Indian state of Assam. It is the largest river island in the whole world. The total area of ​​the island is almost about 352 square kilometers. The word “Majuli” means the middle of the land between two parallel rivers. The other river participating in the Subansiri River.  Similarly, the smallest Riverine Island in the world is “Umanandasituated on the Brahmaputra river in the Indian state of Assam.

Sample Questions

Question 1: What are the Riverine Islands located in Southern India?


  1. Panayannarkavu Island on Pamba River in Kerala.
  2. Parumala Island located on Pamba River in Kerala.
  3. Bhavani Island located on Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh 
  4. Quibble Island located on Adyar River in Tamilnadu.
  5. Srirangam Island on Cauvery River in Tamil Nadu
  6. Srirangapatna on Cauvery River in Karnataka.
  7. Munroe Island located on Kallada river in Kerala.

Question 2: Which Island is called Peacock island?


“Umananda”  River Island is called as the Peacock Island named by the British based on its structure. It is the smallest river island in the middle of the Brahmaputra River flowing through the city of Guwahati in Assam. 

This Island is a home for the species of Golden langur. A large number of tamarind trees can be found here.

Question 3: Where are the riverine islands located? 


There are inhabited riverine islands located on Brahmaputra river including Majuli. Other major river islands are located on the Amazon River. While islands are usually the raised part of submerged mountains, the riverine islands are the mainland in rivers formed as a result of depositional accretion.

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Last Updated : 31 Jul, 2022
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