Information On Mississippi River
Spread across 2,320 miles; the Mississipi River is the fourth longest river on the planet. Going through numerous states and all the way towards Canada, this is a river which holds quite a punch.
It’s a river that has earned considerable admiration for how it’s laid out and how it’s being used as a drainage system.
This read will look into all that Mississippi River has to offer and what it is composed of for those who are wondering.
It is a great topic and one which deserves to be discussed from top to bottom.
Name And Its History
Where did the name “Mississippi River” come from? This is the first inquiry to make while discussing this topic. The name came from the Native tribes in the region who had to give the water body a name. It is a word that comes from Ojibwe, which is a native language.
The term was given as a means to say “Great River” because it was the largest where these tribes were located. It was also given the nickname “Old Man River” by some who would frequent the shores.
Numerous connecting points attach back to this river, and they have been given their names. These would be connecting points such as the Gallatin and Jefferson Rivers to name a few. These are all attached to the Mississippi River and have had their names over the years.
Moving to the history of this river, it was first seen by Native American tribes that were located along the shore. These were hunting and gathering societies that were looking at these areas as being fertile and ideal for settling down. They were able to grow their own food in these regions near the river.
This took place in 1000 BCE, but over time the location was colonized as settlers started to come over from other parts of the world. It was a man named Soto that began the exploration of this river and was able to arrive in 1541. There were French explorers such as Louis Jolliet who were also able to explore the region through this river.
It was in 1763 where the river became a part of the divide that was set in between Engish and Spanish empires. It was used as a means to split the land and be able to claim their place in the areas they had found.
Where It Begins
Moving to the river itself and seeing where it begins becomes necessary.
According to researchers, the source is Lake Itasca, which is located near Minnesota. Lake Itasca is where the river begins and then it starts to trickle through towards Canada. It winds through the states and can touch various points before it culminates.
The starting point is also where it can reach the “mouth” which is the Gulf of Mexico. This is where the river has to go through before it can spread out.
The beginning point is pertinent because this is where the river is measured from when stats are given out.
Where It Ends
If that is where it begins, where does the Mississippi River end then? It ends all the way at the Gulf of Mexico as mentioned above. This is where the mouth is for the river and where it finishes. It is this point that is used to measure where the river concludes its path.
A significant amount of water goes through from one end to the other as there are over 2000+ miles to be covered. This leads to interesting variations in terms of water quality and how the water ends up looking when it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
Continues studies are run on this matter to see how the water is impacted as it travels.
Moving forward from where it begins and ends, let’s take a look at the deepest parts of this river. In general, the Mississippi River is quite shallow compared to other rivers, but it does have certain points that are deeper. Two particular points stand out when it comes to this topic.
The first point would be near Illinois. This is where you will be able to see around 50-100 feet of depth depending on the particular area you are in. This is not the “deepest” part of the river however. The deepest part of the river would have to be awarded to Algiers Point (or close to it) where the depth goes all the way to 200 feet in certain spots.
This specific part of the river is significantly deep and competes with the rest of the rivers that are out there.
There are certain areas along the river that are “fertile” when it comes to the agriculture industry. Without these regions, the growth that has to be seen would not be there. Which areas would these be? The term used is “Mississippi Embayment” for these areas.
The river goes through Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, which are the areas that are most fertile. When the river passes through these areas, you can see the growth that is on offer. Most farms are set up in this region for that reason alone. The growth is incredible, and the land is quite fertile.
This is a low-lying basin that goes up to South Cairo in Illinois. These are the areas where you will see significant development. There have been moments of erosion in these areas as well because the fertile nature of the lands also means it changes more than other parts.
Pollution Troubles Have Been Seen
It hasn’t all been rosy for the river. It has had problems regarding pollution and how things are being cleaned up. With all of the chemicals being used in the agricultural industry, there have been concerns about the runoff. There have been chemicals that have seeped into the water and are now causing issues to vegetation along the shore.
It is also harming the fish present in the water, and that is not good for the future.
These pollution troubles have been pointed out across various forums by political analysts and environment specialists. The figures are alarming in particular areas along the coast, and they are not slowing down. Regulations have to be made before things go out of control.
While, the river is still doing well for itself and is able to withstand most of the pollution that is going on, if it does not cease, the damage could be grave. This is when environmental groups are hoping to remain on top of the issue and get clearance for major regulatory changes.
The drainage basin or catchment as it is called for the Mississippi River is important. The basin is spread across multiple states and seeps into Canada as well. With the water emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, it is important to see where it comes from and how it maneovres around the continent.
Most of the “draining” takes place between the Appalachian Mountains and Rocky Mountains. This is where the water starts to drain away. It is important for the levels to be monitored in these regions because of how vital these basins are.
It takes 90 days for this process to be completed (beginning to end).
Just like any other part of the planet, there have been changes that have been seen on this river. It has not always been the same in terms of the direction it was taking in the past. There is a natural process called “Delta Switching,” which takes place almost every 1000 years or so and this has led to the recent course change.
The water was not always draining into the Gulf of Mexico, but after the delta switching took place, it is now heading in that direction. How has the change taken place? It was catalysed by the river’s levels shooting upwards and therefore the pathway towards the Gulf of Mexico becoming quicker.
These course changes are nature’s way of maintaining balance.
Specific Areas Attached To The River
There are hundreds of communities that are placed right alongside the river and have been so for years. The major ones that are talked about would be St. Louis, Dubuque, New Orleans, St. Cloud, Quad Cities, and Baton Rouge. There are many more that can be included in this list and are equally important.
These communities have developed over the years to safeguard against the rising levels.
These issues are important because of how the water is rising and what has transpired in the past with flooding.
What about the bridges that are connected around this river? There are multiple bridges that have been built over the previous century or so and they are regularly maintained.
These bridges include Eisenhower Bridge, Stone Arch Bridge, Black Hawk Bridge, Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge, and Julien Dubuque Bridge to name a few. The first bridge that was built across the river to get to the other side was the Hennepin Avenue Bridge (Minnesota) and it is still there to this day.
It has been repaired and extended over the years but is still present.
These bridges have helped close the gap and made transportation easier over this water body as time has gone on.
What about future developments along and/or around the river? What is going to happen to these areas? Are they going to stay the same? Over the years, it has never stayed the same and developments have always been ongoing. These changes will come about once again.
The new developments that are being lined up at this point include new levees being built becaus the raising levels are going to put pressure on the current setup. They want to take a look at the existing dams and see how they will be able to redirect the water.
There are also claims there is going to be another course change that is going to cause the river to divert West as time goes on. This could be detrimental to some of the levees that have been built, and it would have to be changed.
Some of these developments are going to be man-made, but others are going to come about because of how nature takes its course. Therefore, governments in those areas are looking at making proactive alternations to ensure the water does not cause flooding.
Water Skiing And Its Relation To The River
Many people wonder how water skiing came about when they see it for the first time. This is a fascinating question and it relates back to the Mississippi River. It was founded near Lake Pepin which is attached to the river. In the beginning, there were a few men who were fooling around and hoping to see what they could do in the water.
This is when water skiing started to develop in their minds and after a few trials, they were able to spread it across the region. It all begin along the Mississippi River, and that is a great connection to real life and how this water body has had an incredible impact on life.
This is what the Mississippi River is all about from top to bottom. Its history is not as new as many would think and it has been around for a while. There have been numerous changes in how it runs and that is a natural development which can’t be ignored, but it also meshes well with Native history along with colonization.
There is an extension of these things that are all related to the river and what it encompasses. Such a fantastic water body deserves to be appreciated for all that it has offered to Americans and North America in general. It has a place in the world among the longest and largest rivers.
The Mississippi River is a special draining system and one that is always going to be important for the safety of North America as a continent.