What makes the Mississippi River important and so big?

Posted By on May 5, 2019

MississippiRiverTribs

Every student learns just how big and important the Mississippi River is in our country. From transporting materials from the America’s breadbasket to markets throughout the country and beyond … to draining the snowmelt and rainfall off the land so it can be cultivated (was reminded of this with all the flooding this spring). It is an amazing river that has hundreds of tributaries coming from both the east and the west. As a lover of maps, I was reminded just how many linear and square miles of the United States feeds this massive river (click map for larger view). 

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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. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. 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. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi, of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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