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Remarkable 3D flow structures occur at river confluences with small density differences due to differences in sediment concentration or temperature. We explain these by comparing numerical simulations for an idealized confluence with aerial photographs of several river confluences where color differences express the pattern of density differences at the surface. We analyzed numerical simulations of the Rio Negro–Solimões confluence near Manaus, Brazil, in more detail. The numerical model of thedoi:10.3390/w12113084 fatcat:nwlrrrvknjc7theqvwukxpgpzu