You may be familiar with New York and Nebraska, but are there 11 U.S. states with names that begin with the letter "N?" 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 Spanish, the river is called Río Mississippi.[77]. This triggered a dispute between Spain and the U.S. on which parts of West Florida Spain had ceded to France in the first place, which would, in turn, decide which parts of West Florida the U.S. had bought from France in the Louisiana Purchase, versus which were unceded Spanish property. However, the drainage basin may flow into Canada. [73], The Mississippi was spelled Mississipi or Missisipi during French Louisiana and was also known as the Rivière Saint-Louis. Most were hunter-gatherers, but some, such as the Mound Builders, formed prolific agricultural and urban civilisations. 99-662) The River. 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. The total catchment of the Mississippi River covers nearly 40% of the landmass of the continental United States. There have been a few controversies on what is the exact source of the Mississippi. A period of more isolated communities followed, and agriculture introduced from Mesoamerica based on the Three Sisters (maize, beans and squash) gradually came to dominate. 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. As a result, the image of the twin stacked, wedding cake Mississippi steamer entered into American mythology. (The Mississippi-Missouri River combined is 3,709 miles or 5,969 km). [22] However, the lake is in turn fed by a number of smaller streams. The Mississippi River is, in many ways, the nation's best known and most important river system. They dated to the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The Mississippi River is the second longest river in North America, flowing 2,350 miles from its source at Lake Itasca through the center of the continental United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Abstract The Mississippi River fluvial–marine sediment-dispersal system (MRS) has become the focus of renewed research during the past decade, driven by the recognition that the channel, alluvial valley, delta, and offshore regions are critical components of North American economic and ecological networks. Beyond the confluence with the Ohio at Cairo, Illinois, the lower Mississippi attains its full grandeur. The highest point within the watershed is also the highest point of the Rocky Mountains, Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,400 m).[34]. It was thought that the river's velocity would scour off bottom sediments, deepening the river and decreasing the possibility of flooding. French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette began exploring the Mississippi in the 17th century. USA. Toggle Makers On/Off – You may have to zoom out to see the new markers. Native Americans have lived along the Mississippi River and its tributaries for thousands of years. Citing Literature. 1973 was a forty-year flood. Le Mississippi (Mississippi River en anglais) est un fleuve situé en Amérique du Nord traversant la partie centrale des États-Unis. In the Treaty of 1818, the U.S. and Great Britain agreed to fix the border running from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains along the 49th parallel north. 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 southernmost extent of this enormous glaciation extended well into the present-day United States and Mississippi basin. On the basis of physical characteristics, the Mississippi River can be divided into four distinct reaches, or sections. The turbulent, cloudy-to-muddy, and flotsam-laden Missouri, especially when in flood, adds impetus as well as enormous quantities of silt to the clearer Mississippi. The height of these bluffs decreases to the south of Dubuque, though they are still significant through Savanna, Illinois. It is common to qualify a regionally superlative landmark in relation to it, such as "the highest peak east of the Mississippi"[20] or "the oldest city west of the Mississippi". The main factor is energy. The Mississippi River is called the Lower Mississippi River from its confluence with the Ohio River to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of about 1,000 miles (1,600 km). 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. 99-662) The River. The Mississippi River is the largest river in the USA and one of the most regulated rivers in the world. The big one lies out there somewhere—when the structures can't release all the floodwaters and the levee is going to have to give way. 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 book was published first in serial form in Harper's Weekly in seven parts in 1875. But it was the great flood of 1927 that ushered in a new era of levee building. The Mississippi River system drains the agricultural plains between the Appalachian Mountains to the east and the Rocky Mountains to the west. Marquette proposed calling it the River of the Immaculate Conception. During periods of high flow, the gates, some of which are submersible, are completely opened and the dams simply cease to function. [30][31][32][33] Although the Red River is commonly mistaken for an additional tributary, its water flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico through the Atchafalaya River. The United States then secured effective control of the river when it bought the Louisiana Territory from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. From its traditional source of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, it flows generally south for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. Dressé sur un grand nombre de mémoires entre autres sur ceux de M. Le Maire / par Guillaume Delisle de l'Académie Royale des Sciences", "Le cours du Mississipi ou de St Louis, fameuse rivière... aux environs de laquelle se trouve le pays appellé Louisiane / dressée... par N. de Fer", "Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor", "Plan of New Orleans the Capital of Louisiana; With the Disposition of Its Quarters and Canals as They Have Been Traced by Mr. de la Tour in the Year 1720", "Southeast Missouri State University: The Big Freeze, 1918–1919", "Paddling the Mississippi River to Benefit the Audubon Society", "Controlling the Mighty Mississippi's path to the sea", "Mississippi Rising: Apocalypse Now? This nationally significant commercial navigation system includes 1,200 miles of the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and the navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, Black and Kaskaskia rivers. At the time of first contact with Europeans, Cahokia and many other Mississippian cities had dispersed, and archaeological finds attest to increased social stress.[66][67][68]. Because the large scale of high-energy water flow threatened to damage the structure, an auxiliary flow control station was built adjacent to the standing control station. Jean‐Paul Bravard, Bibliography, Sedimentary Crisis at the Global Scale 1, (199-218), (2019). [64] Evidence of early cultivation of sunflower, a goosefoot, a marsh elder and an indigenous squash dates to the 4th millennium BC. 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). These earthquakes created Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee from the altered landscape near the river. The Upper Mississippi River alone is home to about 120 fish species, including walleye, sauger, large mouth bass, small mouth bass, white bass, northern pike, bluegill, crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, common shiner, freshwater drum and shovelnose sturgeon. That is when the river's going to jump its banks and try to break through."[99]. The retention time from Lake Itasca to the Gulf is typically about 90 days. On average, the Mississippi has only 8% the flow of the Amazon River.[37]. 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). [97] In addition to reducing the Mississippi River crest downstream, this diversion reduced the chances of a channel change by reducing stress on the other elements of the control system. [71] 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". Since then there have been many attempts at preventing inundation from River flooding. Saint Anthony Falls is the only true waterfall on the entire Mississippi River. In its headwaters, from the source to the head of navigation at St. Paul, Minnesota, the Mississippi is a clear, fresh stream winding its unassuming way through low countryside dotted with lakes and marshes. Wiley Online Library. The Mississippi River is entirely located in the United States although part of the drainage system of this river extends to Canada. He referred to his voyage as a promenade that was once a journey on the Mississippi. 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.[60]. When measured from its traditional source at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi has a length of 2,320 miles (3,730 km). The Missouri River, a tributary of the Mississippi River, is about 100 miles longer. The Mississippi River is known as the Middle Mississippi from the Upper Mississippi River's confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri, for 190 miles (310 km) to its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.[26][27]. Before it was built in 1913, steamboats could occasionally go upstream as far as Saint Cloud, Minnesota, depending on river conditions. 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. Approximately 2,320 miles in length, the Mississippi River system has the distinction of being the largest in North America. - horse power MPH - Miles … [69][70] The Ojibwe called Lake Itasca Omashkoozo-zaaga'igan (Elk Lake) and the river flowing out of it Omashkoozo-ziibi (Elk River). Lake Onalaska, created by Lock and Dam No. The UMRCP model will be collaboratively developed by the Corps of Engineers and states and will become the ‘backbone’ for building a regional risk management strategy. Le Mississippi a une longueur de 3 780 km : seul l'un de ses affluents, le Missouri, est plus long en Amérique du Nord. 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). From its confluence with the St. Croix River downstream to Dubuque, Iowa, the river is entrenched, with high bedrock bluffs lying on either side. The dams, which were built beginning in the 1880s, stored spring run-off which was released during low water to help maintain channel depth. 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),[28] 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). Richard Jones moves the intake pipe for a water pump that is used to inflate the Tiger Dam water diversion system near the southwest pass of the Mississippi River Delta, May 20, 2010. However, in 1800, under duress from Napoleon of France, Spain ceded an undefined portion of West Florida to France in the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. The Mississippi drainage basin is over 3.2 million km2 (or 1.2 million mi2) and is a source of water to roughly 18 million people as well as industry and agriculture. Beginning in 1844, successive flooding caused the Mississippi River to slowly encroach east. The Mississippi flows 3770 km from its source at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico. The Upper Mississippi is largely a multi-thread stream with many bars and islands. A clear channel is needed for the barges and other vessels that make the main stem Mississippi one of the great commercial waterways of the world. The rains often arrived in very intense storms. The first place is taken by the Hudson Bay drainage system. Despite being the third largest river system in the world, the exact source of the Mississippi is … The Mississippi River is the largest river in the USA and one of the most regulated rivers in the world. Through a natural process known as avulsion or delta switching, the lower Mississippi River has shifted its final course to the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico every thousand years or so. This route is controlled by the Bonnet Carré Spillway, built to reduce flooding in New Orleans. [80] The French built the small fort of La Balise there to control passage.[81]. Lake Itasca is the primary source of the Mississippi River. In the 18th century, the river was the primary western boundary of the young United States, and since the country's expansion westward, the Mississippi River has been widely considered a convenient if approximate dividing line between the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern United States, and the Western United States. There is a steep drop here away from the Mississippi's main channel into the Atchafalaya Basin. Below is a general overview of selected Mississippi bridges that have notable engineering or landmark significance, with their cities or locations. [53][54] The lakes formed are also used for recreational boating and fishing. Mississippi Valley Division. Mississippi River System: | | ||| | Map of the course, watershed, and major tributaries of... World Heritage Encyclopedia, the aggregation of the largest online encyclopedias available, and the most definitive collection ever assembled. The abandoned distributaries diminish in volume and form what are known as bayous. Lake Pepin, a natural lake formed behind the delta of the Chippewa River of Wisconsin as it enters the Upper Mississippi, is more than 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans. The assessment noted the aging navigation and flood control infrastructure along with multiple environmental problems. In 1928, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized by Congress to begin construction of the Mississippi … This drainage basin (approximately 1,234,700 square miles) covers about 40 percent of the United States and ranks as the fifth largest in the world. The head of navigation on the Mississippi is the Coon Rapids Dam in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. 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. These images demonstrate that the plume did not mix with the surrounding sea water immediately. The Hennepin Canal roughly follows the ancient channel of the Mississippi downstream from Rock Island to Hennepin, Illinois. [101] Ralph Samuelson of Lake City, Minnesota, created and refined his skiing technique in late June and early July 1922. [14][15] From its traditional source of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km)[15] to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. 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. In 1907, Congress authorized a 6-foot-deep (1.8 m) channel project on the Mississippi River, which was not complete when it was abandoned in the late 1920s in favor of the 9-foot-deep (2.7 m) channel project. A few survive as icons—the Delta Queen and the River Queen for instance. Below Cairo, where the Ohio River joins, the depth averages 50–100 feet (15–30 m) deep. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Taken together, they form the largest river system in North America. Country. 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. [89][90], Geologists believe that the lower Mississippi could take a new course to the Gulf. In 1900, the canal was replaced by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Updates? Projections indicate there will be less winter snowpack — which locks water away until the spring melt — and more rain, which drains quickly into rivers like the Mississippi. The Mississippi River is the second-longest river in the United States and fourth-longest in the world. Two weeks after the bridge opened, the steamboat Effie Afton rammed part of the bridge, setting it on fire. Retrieved November 7, 2015. The second longest river in North America, the Mississippi River is the longest river that passes through Mississippi. The remains of wooden-hulled water craft were exposed in an area of 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) on the bottom of the Mississippi River at West Memphis, Arkansas. The Mississippi no longer fits the definition a river as "a natural watercourse flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river." No flood control is intended. The dam also eliminated the Des Moines Rapids. In their study, Report Upon the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River, Humphreys and Abbot emphasized that levees were the best method of flood damage control. Apart from the Missouri and Meramec rivers of Missouri and the Kaskaskia River of Illinois, no major tributaries enter the Middle Mississippi River. The Upper Mississippi was treacherous, unpredictable and to make traveling worse, the area was not properly mapped out or surveyed. Rather, the … In volume of discharge, however, the Mississippi’s rate of roughly 600,000 cubic feet (17,000 cubic metres) per second is the largest in North America and the eighth greatest in the world. Fourteen of these dams are located above Minneapolis in the headwaters region and serve multiple purposes, including power generation and recreation. 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. Above the dam, the river's elevation is 799 feet (244 m). Following Britain's victory in the Seven Years War the Mississippi became the border between the British and Spanish Empires. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. Mississippi River… This river counts as the fourth longest in the world. Mississippi River System. Heilbron, Bertha L. "Father of Waters: Four Centuries of the Mississippi". The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest river and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. 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 oil covered the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Lake Pepin, creating an ecological disaster and a demand to control water pollution.[85]. The drainage basin empties into the Gulf of Mexico, part of the Atlantic Ocean. A 15-minute video covering information about Upper Mississippi River history, river navigation, locks and dams and the locking process. [44] 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. The canal allowed shipping between these important waterways. The Mississippi River has shaped the settlement patterns of the Greater New Orleans area since Bienville established the city in 1718. c. 1000 AD: The Mississippi's present course took over. The port of New Orleans boomed as it was the trans-shipment point to deep sea ocean vessels. The Upper Mississippi River is joined by the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling in the Twin Cities; the St. Croix River near Prescott, Wisconsin; the Cannon River near Red Wing, Minnesota; the Zumbro River at Wabasha, Minnesota; the Black, La Crosse, and Root rivers in La Crosse, Wisconsin; the Wisconsin River at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin; the Rock River at the Quad Cities; the Iowa River near Wapello, Iowa; the Skunk River south of Burlington, Iowa; and the Des Moines River at Keokuk, Iowa. The original Lock and Dam 26 was demolished. The lawsuit went to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in favor of the railroad.[51]. Before 1900, the Mississippi River transported an estimated 440 million short tons (400 million metric tons) of sediment per year from the interior of the United States to coastal Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. The Upper Mississippi runs from its headwaters to its confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri. When the ice sheet began to recede, hundreds of feet of rich sediment were deposited, creating the flat and fertile landscape of the Mississippi Valley. In particular, the Corps of Engineers made many improvements and constructed additional facilities for routing water through the vicinity.