Mississippi River

Key Facts
y y y y In America. 3,779 km long. Flows through 31 states. The rivers· name means "father of waters" in the Algonquian language. y Lower section the Mississippi is subject to disastrous flooding. y At the headwaters of the Mississippi, the average surface speed of the water is near 1.2 miles per hour

Main Features
Upper course
y Rising at an elevation of 446 m in Lake Itasca, the Mississippi flows through several glacial lakes to MinneapolisSaint Paul, where it passes over a series of rapids and is joined by the Minnesota River. y The river is controlled by numerous dams and falls. y Upper Mississippi is divided into three sections: the headwaters, from the source to Saint Anthony Falls, a series of man-made lakes between Minneapolis and St. Louis, Missouri, and the middle Mississippi, a relatively free-flowing river downstream of the confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis.

Middle Course
y Much of the area is a fertile and gently rolling ground that features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. y The most important tributaries are the Illinois, Chippewa, Black, Wisconsin, Saint Croix, Iowa, Des Moines, and Rock Rivers, some of which drain the nation's most fertile agricultural land. y The end of the middle course is where the river begins to meander.

Lower Course
y South of Cairo the Mississippi enters a wide ,low valley that was once an embayment of the Gulf of Mexico. Sediment has filled this area, and through the centuries the river has extended its mouth to the present location 966 km downstream. y Beyond this lies more low floodplains, often at a lower elevation than the river itself. More commonly known as the Mississippi delta where there is an alluvial plain. Another feature of the lower course is its meandering. y In its lower section the Mississippi is subject to disastrous flooding.
The upper course has many waterfalls and dams, which suggests a steep course like the model. The middle course is gently sloping, has broad shallow valleys and many tributaries, just like the middle course model. The lower course is very flat and meanders just like a typical lower course of a river. Yes, the Mississippi River fits the model very well.

Heather Currie 3B

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