The Swiss Confederation, a small republic in Europe, consists of 41,285 square kilometers (15,940 square miles) and is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The beautiful Swiss Alps with many glacial lakes occupy the southern portion of Switzerland. Viewing stones can be found in rivers and streams flowing from these lakes. The Aare River that flows from the alpine lake Thun to the Rhine River near Koblenz is one such example. A diversity of stone types can be found in rivers originating in high mountains.