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Kanawha (kənô´wə), principal river of W.Va., 97 mi (156 km) long, formed by the confluence of the New and Gauley rivers, S central W.Va., and flowing NW to the Ohio River at Point Pleasant; Charleston, W.Va., is the largest city on the river. The Kanawha flows through a rich coal, natural-gas, and salt-brine region with numerous chemical plants in the valley. There are navigation locks and power dams on the river; its tributaries have flood-control works.