, The Mississippi was spelled Mississipi or Missisipi during French Louisiana and was also known as the Rivière Saint-Louis. It also serves to protect the St. Louis city water intakes during times of low water. This resulted in widespread shortages, high prices, and rationing of coal in January and February.. Until the 1950s, there was no dam below Lock and Dam 26 at Alton, Illinois. Mark Twain's book, Life on the Mississippi, covered the steamboat commerce which took place from 1830 to 1870 on the river before more modern ships replaced the steamer. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died; only eighteen survived the accident. Several significant tributaries link up with the Mississippi River in its lower section such as the Arkansas River, the Big Black River, and the Yazoo River. The deepest part of the river is in New Orleans, where it reaches 200 feet (61 m) deep.. When Louis Jolliet explored the Mississippi Valley in the 17th century, natives guided him to a quicker way to return to French Canada via the Illinois River. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. The oil covered the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Lake Pepin, creating an ecological disaster and a demand to control water pollution.. When combined with the Missouri river, it makes up the fourth longest river system in the world after the Nile, Amazon and Yangtze Rivers. Mississippi Valley Division. During a meandering 2,350 mile journey south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River is joined by hundreds of tributaries, including the Ohio and Missouri Rivers. 1 was completed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1917. Formed from thick layers of the river's silt deposits, the Mississippi embayment is one of the most fertile regions of the United States; steamboats were widely used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to ship agricultural and industrial goods. This spillway and an imperfect natural levee about 4–6 meters (12 to 20 feet) high are all that prevents the Mississippi from taking a new, shorter course through Lake Pontchartrain to the Gulf of Mexico. The Des Moines Rapids were about 11 miles (18 km) long and just above the mouth of the Des Moines River at Keokuk, Iowa. The River was in flood at Baton Rouge for 67 days (6th longest since 1927) and Red River Landing was above flood stage for 74 days (7th longest since 1927). On October 20, 1976, the automobile ferry, MV George Prince, was struck by a ship traveling upstream as the ferry attempted to cross from Destrehan, Louisiana, to Luling, Louisiana. A major flood in 1881 caused it to overtake the lower 10 miles (16 km) of the Kaskaskia River, forming a new Mississippi channel and cutting off the town from the rest of the state. These images demonstrate that the plume did not mix with the surrounding sea water immediately. The main stemi… During the last two decades, this number was only 160 million short tons (145 million metric tons) per year. The "Big Freeze" of 1918–19 blocked river traffic north of Memphis, Tennessee, preventing transportation of coal from southern Illinois. Steamboats remained a feature until the 1920s. Fresh river water flowing from the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico does not mix into the salt water immediately. The structure was nearly lost during the 1973 flood, but repairs and improvements were made after engineers studied the forces at play. The Mississippi is referred to as the Lower Mississippi for nearly a thousand miles from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. It was thought that the river's velocity would scour off bottom sediments, deepening the river and decreasing the possibility of flooding. The average depth of the Mississippi River between Saint Paul and Saint Louis is between 9 and 12 feet (2.7–3.7 m) deep, the deepest part being Lake Pepin, which averages 20–32 feet (6–10 m) deep and has a maximum depth of 60 feet (18 m). The most prominent of these, now called Cahokia, was occupied between about 600 and 1400 AD and at its peak numbered between 8,000 and 40,000 inhabitants, larger than London, England of that time. In Spanish, the river is called Río Mississippi.. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, List of crossings of the Upper Mississippi River, List of crossings of the Lower Mississippi River, List of locks and dams of the Upper Mississippi River, Mississippi River Band of Chippewa Indians, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, Great Mississippi and Missouri Rivers Flood of 1993, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem), Lists of crossings of the Mississippi River, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, "The Headwaters of the amazing Mississippi River in Ojibwe", "Mississippi River Facts – Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (U.S. National Park Service)", "The 10 States That Border the Mississippi", "Mississippi (river US) facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Mississippi (river US)", "The 10 Tallest Mountains East of the Mississippi", "New Madrid – 220+ Years Old and Counting", "Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia", "MMRP: Middle Mississippi River Partnership", "The Mississippi Levee System and the Old River Control Structure", "USACE Brochure: Old River Control, Jan 2009", "General Information about the Mississippi River", "Arkansas v. Tennessee, 246 U.S. 158 :: Volume 246 :: 1918", Treaty of Friendship, Limits, and Navigation, "Hell Gate of the Mississippi: The Effie Afton Trial and Abraham Lincoln's Role in It", "US Army Corps of Engineers, Brief History", "U.S. Waterway System Facts, December 2005", "Mississippi Valley Trade & Transport Council", "Corps to Study Lower Mississippi River Deepening Project – International Dredging Review – June 2015", "Appendix E: Nine-foot navigation channel maintenance activities", "The Old River Control Structure on the Lower Mississippi River", "Levees among possible cause of more frequent flooding", "History of the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project", "AISRI Dictionary Database Search—prototype version. U.S. government scientists determined in the 1950s that the Mississippi River was starting to switch to the Atchafalaya River channel because of its much steeper path to the Gulf of Mexico. , Numerous introduced species are found in the Mississippi and some of these are invasive. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns. The Mississippi River starts at Lake Itasca in north central Minnesota and travels 2,350 miles to its endpoint at the Gulf of Mexico. From its traditional source of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. The Corps now actively creates and maintains spillways and floodways to divert periodic water surges into backwater channels and lakes, as well as route part of the Mississippi's flow into the Atchafalaya Basin and from there to the Gulf of Mexico, bypassing Baton Rouge and New Orleans. In this section, the Mississippi flows for approximately 664 miles until it reaches the state of Missouri. Where Does The Mississippi River Start? The head of navigation on the Mississippi is the Coon Rapids Dam in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Among the introductions are fish such as Asian carp, including the silver carp that have become infamous for outcompeting native fish and their potentially dangerous jumping behavior. From there the river flows 2,348 miles until it pours into the Gulf of Mexico below New Orleans. Hydrologists consider the Mississippi River to be the 4th longest river globally and the 15th largest by the volume of water it discharges. Beginning in 1844, successive flooding caused the Mississippi River to slowly encroach east. c. 1000 AD: The Mississippi's present course took over. Either of two new routes—through the Atchafalaya Basin or through Lake Pontchartrain—might become the Mississippi's main channel if flood-control structures are overtopped or heavily damaged during a severe flood.. The 1927 flood proved this to be so wrong that communities threatened by the flood began to create their own levee breaks to relieve the force of the rising river. By Joyce Chepkemoi on November 13 2018 in Environment. , The Mississippi River discharges at an annual average rate of between 200 and 700 thousand cubic feet per second (6,000 and 20,000 m3/s). Roseman, Curtis C., and Elizabeth M. Roseman. Rising in Lake Itasca in Minnesota, it flows almost due south across the continental interior, collecting the waters of its major tributaries, the Missouri River (to the west) and the Ohio River (to the east), approximately halfway along its journey to the Gulf of Mexico through a vast delta southeast of New Orleans, a total distance of 2,340 miles (3,766 km) from its source. Heilbron, Bertha L. "Father of Waters: Four Centuries of the Mississippi". They are sequenced from the source of the river to its end. If this facility were to fail during a major flood, there is a strong concern the water would scour and erode the river bottom enough to capture the Mississippi's main channel. Between Saint Louis, Missouri, where the Missouri River joins and Cairo, Illinois, the depth averages 30 feet (9 m). The original Lock and Dam 26 was demolished. 19 at Keokuk, Iowa, the first dam below St. Anthony Falls. The main structures are the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway in Missouri; the Old River Control Structure and the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana, which direct excess water down the west and east sides (respectively) of the Atchafalaya River; and the Bonnet Carré Spillway, also in Louisiana, which directs floodwaters to Lake Pontchartrain (see diagram). Beginning in the 1970s, the Corps applied hydrological transport models to analyze flood flow and water quality of the Mississippi. Following Britain's victory in the Seven Years War the Mississippi became the border between the British and Spanish Empires. How many states contribute to its flow? The lawsuit went to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in favor of the railroad.. Many of the communities along the Mississippi River are listed below; most have either historic significance or cultural lore connecting them to the river. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lake Onalaska, created by Lock and Dam No. The Upper Mississippi runs from its headwaters to its confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri. The name Itasca was chosen to designate the "true head" of the Mississippi River as a combination of the last four letters of the Latin word for truth (veritas) and the first two letters of the Latin word for head (caput). Following ongoing U.S. colonization creating facts on the ground, and U.S. military actions, Spain ceded both West Florida and East Florida in their entirety to the United States in the Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819. From its confluence with the St. Croix River downstream to Dubuque, Iowa, the river is entrenched, with high bedrock bluffs lying on either side. Measurements of the length of the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico vary somewhat, but the United States Geological Survey's number is 2,320 miles (3,730 km). The assessment noted the aging navigation and flood control infrastructure along with multiple environmental problems. 27), which consists of a low-water dam and an 8.4-mile-long (13.5 km) canal, was added in 1953, just below the confluence with the Missouri River, primarily to bypass a series of rock ledges at St. Louis. At the confluence of the Ohio and the Middle Mississippi, the long-term mean discharge of the Ohio at Cairo, Illinois is 281,500 cubic feet per second (7,970 cubic meters per second), while the long-term mean discharge of the Mississippi at Thebes, Illinois (just upriver from Cairo) is 208,200 cu ft/s (5,900 m3/s). There is a steep drop here away from the Mississippi's main channel into the Atchafalaya Basin.  No highway or railroad tunnels cross under the Mississippi River. It is located in the Itasca National Park and is 450 m (1,475 ft) above sea level. The highest point within the watershed is also the highest point of the Rocky Mountains, Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,400 m).. The Drive It […]  The lakes formed are also used for recreational boating and fishing.  When measured by the largest stream source (by water volume), the Ohio River, by extension the Allegheny River, would be the source, and the Mississippi would begin in Pennsylvania. Is the Mississippi a ribbon of water in a ditch that starts at Minnesota’s Lake Itasca and ends at the Gulf of Mexico? The Great Flood of 1993 was another significant flood, primarily affecting the Mississippi above its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois. The Corps later also began excavating the Rock Island Rapids. These additional facilities give the Corps much more flexibility and potential flow capacity than they had in 1973, which further reduces the risk of a catastrophic failure in this area during other major floods, such as that of 2011.  Although it is the fifth-largest river in the world by volume, this flow is a small fraction of the output of the Amazon, which moves nearly 7 million cubic feet per second (200,000 m3/s) during wet seasons. The Start of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca in Northern Minnesota where the Mississippi is born and cut through the center of the Country. The Mississippi River begins as a trickle flowing out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota.  Within the Mississippi basin, streams that have their source in the Appalachian and Ozark highlands contain especially many species. The Rock Island Rapids were between Rock Island and Moline, Illinois. Control of the river was a strategic objective of both sides in the American Civil War, forming a part of the U.S. Anaconda Plan. At the time of first contact with Europeans, Cahokia and many other Mississippian cities had dispersed, and archaeological finds attest to increased social stress.. The word Mississippi itself comes from Misi zipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi (Great River).  In 1848, the continental divide separating the waters of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Valley was breached by the Illinois and Michigan canal via the Chicago River. The images from NASA's MODIS (to the right) show a large plume of fresh water, which appears as a dark ribbon against the lighter-blue surrounding waters. At that point, the northern part of the Red River became a tributary of the Mississippi, while the southern half of the old Red River became the Atchafalaya. No flood control is intended. The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Over geologic time, the Mississippi River has experienced numerous large and small changes to its main course, as well as additions, deletions, and other changes among its numerous tributaries, and the lower Mississippi River has used different pathways as its main channel to the Gulf of Mexico across the delta region. The Treaty of Paris (1763) gave Great Britain rights to all land east of the Mississippi and Spain rights to land west of the Mississippi. The second section of the Upper Mississippi is a navigable channel which was formed due to the presence of human-made lakes in the region. Frits van der Leeden, Fred L. Troise, David Keith Todd: "Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville" (bio), webpage from. The currently active delta lobe is called the Birdfoot Delta, after its shape, or the Balize Delta, after La Balize, Louisiana, the first French settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi. The drainage basin empties into the Gulf of Mexico, part of the Atlantic Ocean. Substantial parts of both Minnesota and Louisiana are on either side of the river, although the Mississippi defines part of the boundary of each of these states. There are seven National Park Service sites along the Mississippi River. Parks and Trails northeast regional office: 218-328-8780. That is when the river's going to jump its banks and try to break through.". ", "Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog : Mississippi River sets all-time flood records; 2nd major spillway opens : Weather Underground", "Floods are a reminder of the Mississippi River's power: John Barry", "Morganza ready for flood | The Advertiser", "Mississippi River flooding in New Orleans area could be massive if Morganza spillway stays closed", "McPhee, The Control of Nature: Atchafalaya", "Invasive Asian carp less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan", Flood management in the Mississippi River, Mississippi River Challenge – annual canoe & kayak event on the Twin Cities stretch, Drafting and ratification of Constitution, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mississippi_River&oldid=995048735, Articles with dead external links from June 2016, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with text in Algonquian languages, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2018, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2017, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, The headwaters, 493 miles (793 km) from the source to. The colonization of the area was barely slowed by the three earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, estimated at approximately 8 on the Richter magnitude scale, that were centered near New Madrid, Missouri. c. 800 BC: The Mississippi diverted further east. Everything has to start somewhere, and the Mississippi River starts in Itasca State Park in Minnesota. Four great earthquakes in 1811 and 1812, estimated at approximately 8 on the Richter magnitude scale, had tremendous local effects in the then sparsely settled area, and were felt in many other places in the Midwestern and eastern U.S. Capital: St. Paul. Jacobson to Aitkin. What is the Mississippi? Running along both sides of the Mississippi River southward toward the Gulf of Mexico, the road passes through historic river towns […] Several important tributaries join the Mississippi in the upper section such as the St. Croix River, the Cannon River, the Iowa River, and the Crow River. The Missouri River will travel more than 2,300 miles before it joins the Mississippi in its namesake state at St. Louis, forming the world’s fourth longest river system as it rolls south to the Gulf of Mexico.Considered the “Center of Life” for the Great Plains, the Missouri has served as t… 1973 was a forty-year flood. The earliest bridge across the Mississippi River was built in 1855. River of Dreams : Imagining The Mississippi Before Mark Twain. This route is controlled by the Bonnet Carré Spillway, built to reduce flooding in New Orleans. Saint Anthony Falls is the only true waterfall on the entire Mississippi River. The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. It spanned the river in Minneapolis where the current Hennepin Avenue Bridge is located. A few survive as icons—the Delta Queen and the River Queen for instance. Since the 20th century, the Mississippi River has also experienced major pollution and environmental problems – most notably elevated nutrient and chemical levels from agricultural runoff, the primary contributor to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. There are several lakes located on the Upper Mississippi with some of the most prominent being Lake Winnibigoshish, Lake Pepin, and Lake Onalaska. If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device. The Mississippi river starts at Lake Itasca, in the central north of Minnesota. After the completion of the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam in 1963, the river's head of navigation moved upstream, to the Coon Rapids Dam. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is the National Park Service site dedicated to protecting and interpreting the Mississippi River itself. Below is a general overview of selected Mississippi bridges that have notable engineering or landmark significance, with their cities or locations. Twenty-three new locks and dams were built on the upper Mississippi in the 1930s in addition to the three already in existence. Ice sheets during the Illinoian Stage, about 300,000 to 132,000 years before present, blocked the Mississippi near Rock Island, Illinois, diverting it to its present channel farther to the west, the current western border of Illinois. Failure of the Old River Control Structure, the Morganza Spillway, or nearby levees would likely re-route the main channel of the Mississippi through Louisiana's Atchafalaya Basin and down the Atchafalaya River to reach the Gulf of Mexico south of Morgan City in southern Louisiana. In particular, the Corps of Engineers made many improvements and constructed additional facilities for routing water through the vicinity.  After the expeditions by Giacomo Beltrami and Henry Schoolcraft, the longest stream above the juncture of the Crow Wing River and Gichi-ziibi was named "Mississippi River". So many settlers traveled westward through the Mississippi river basin, as well as settled in it, that Zadok Cramer wrote a guide book called The Navigator, detailing the features and dangers and navigable waterways of the area. The Arapaho name for the river is Beesniicíe. As a result, the U.S. Congress authorized a project called the Old River Control Structure, which has prevented the Mississippi River from leaving its current channel that drains into the Gulf via New Orleans.. The current form of the Mississippi River basin was largely shaped by the Laurentide Ice Sheet of the most recent Ice Age. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory, due to the river's strategic importance to the Confederate war effort. The Mississippi River begins in Lake Itasca in Minnesota, flows through the middle of the continental United States and finally ends in the Gulf of Mexico. The United States then secured effective control of the river when it bought the Louisiana Territory from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has designated much of the Mississippi River in the state as infested waters by the exotic species zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil.. The Missouri proper has a total course of 2,315 miles (3,726 km). Native Americans have lived along the Mississippi River and its tributaries for thousands of years. In 1829, there were surveys of the two major obstacles on the upper Mississippi, the Des Moines Rapids and the Rock Island Rapids, where the river was shallow and the riverbed was rock. The retention time from Lake Itasca to the Gulf is typically about 90 days. , At its source at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River is about 3 feet (0.91 m) deep. Legal proceedings ensued, with Abraham Lincoln defending the railroad. The Mississippi River drains 33 states and its watershed covers one-half of the nation. The Mississippi River has the world's fourth-largest drainage basin ("watershed" or "catchment"). Area: 79,610 square miles (206,190 sq km) Population: 5,611,179. The Mississippi River has played an essential role particularly in the history of several Native American communities. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.. In the 19th century, during the height of the ideology of manifest destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States. The Great River Road is arguably the longest and most important scenic byway in America. The Mississippi River runs through or along 10 states, from Minnesota to Louisiana, and is used to define portions of these states borders, with Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi along the east side of the river, and Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas along its west side. In 2005, the Source to Sea Expedition paddled the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers to benefit the Audubon Society's Upper Mississippi River Campaign. Built by a private power company (Union Electric Company of St. Louis) to generate electricity (originally for streetcars in St. Louis), the Keokuk dam was one of the largest hydro-electric plants in the world at the time. A total of 168 gates was opened by March 15th, 48% of capacity. The remaining 29 dams, beginning in downtown Minneapolis, all contain locks and were constructed to improve commercial navigation of the upper river. The Red River used to run all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, running parallel to the Mississippi River. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007. Below St. Louis, the Mississippi is relatively free-flowing, although it is constrained by numerous levees and directed by numerous wing dams. Other major tributaries of the Upper Mississippi include the Crow River in Minnesota, the Chippewa River in Wisconsin, the Maquoketa River and the Wapsipinicon River in Iowa, and the Illinois River in Illinois. When studying the Mississippi, hydrologists divide it into three different sections. In addition to the Ohio River, the major tributaries of the Lower Mississippi River are the White River, flowing in at the White River National Wildlife Refuge in east central Arkansas; the Arkansas River, joining the Mississippi at Arkansas Post; the Big Black River in Mississippi; and the Yazoo River, meeting the Mississippi at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Among other world rivers how does it compare?  Even if it failed at the crest during a severe flood, the floodwaters would have to erode to normal water levels before the Mississippi could permanently jump channel at this location. About this segment. Before it was built in 1913, steamboats could occasionally go upstream as far as Saint Cloud, Minnesota, depending on river conditions. Until the 1840s only two trips a year to the Twin Cities landings were made by steamboats which suggests it was not very profitable.. The Mississippi was completely changed by the steamboat era as it transformed into a flourishing tourist trade.. Wisconsin Great River Road, Mississippi River, and bluffs. In 1848, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was built to connect the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan via the Illinois River near Peru, Illinois. 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