• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Mississippi River, located in North America, begins in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and flows south, ending at the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana.

Extracts from this document...


The River itself The Mississippi River, located in North America, begins in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and flows south, ending at the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana. Its watershed boundary is marked by the Rocky Mountains in the West, Appalachian Mountains in the East, and lakes in the north-east. Length: One of the longest rivers in the world; disputed to be between 2,320 - 2,550 miles long Width: Ranges from 20-30 feet at Lake Itasca to over four miles at Lake Onalaska Depth: Less than 3 feet deep at the source, but more than 200 feet deep at one point in New Orleans Elevation: Drains between 1.2 - 1.8 million square miles (41% of North America) - a total of 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces Watershed Area: Over 1,475 feet above sea level at Lake Itasca, dropping to 0 feet at its mouth Tributaries: Main ones are the R. Missouri (dry mid-west) to R. Ohio (wet highlands) Frequency of floods along the Mississippi > Minor Flooding (minimal, or no property damage; possibly with some public inconvenience) The Mississippi River, in its natural state would normally surpass its bankfull discharge and spill onto its floodplain annually. This would usually take place in the late spring with snowmelt increasing the volume in the river and heavy rainfall in the Appalachian Mountains. ...read more.


silt) have no where to be deposited; may get caught in debris in the bed, thus raising the level of the bed further. 4. Deforestation to create space for urban growth reduces transpiration. 5. Farmland (with plants growing in even rows) is less likely to hold water than rough growth (roots growing in random directions in different types of rock and soil), thus throughflow to river increases. 6. Asphalt on roads of urban development means that runoff reaches rivers more quickly. How each cause increases the chances of flooding > Physical Causes 1. As you can see from the picture above, the Mississippi River and all its tributaries spread over a large portion of America. Its drainage basin seems to cover about half of the country. This means that wherever rain falls over the USA, much of it will eventually reach the Mississippi river. This increases the chances of flooding because if more water is reaching the river, the river level is more likely to raise and overflow its embankments. 2. Reason #2 is similar to #1 in that with more water, the chances of flooding are increased. In this case, the main point is the tributaries and not the drainage basin. How large the tributaries are and where they come from is also of importance. ...read more.


Summary Paragraph The Mississippi was thought to have been tamed as there had been no serious flooding events in decades. Much time, research and investments have gone into making the area around the river safe for development. The people living on the floodplains were confident that they were safe ('levee effect'). The ironic combination of physical and human factors led to the completely unexpected flooding disaster in American history. There were huge amounts of money lost and much property was damaged and in need of repair, adding to the costs of the flood. Some may argue that it was mostly humans to blame for the flood. The flood may have been unavoidable, but ultimately, humans made a flood much worse than it could have been. Others argue that the benefits of taming the Mississippi River outweigh the losses. Floodplains are flat and easy to build upon, farms have fertile soils to grow crop, people have a stable supply of water and boats are now able to navigate the river. Their defense is that the levees performed to the extent to which they were designed for (not an extreme flood like the 1993). Either way, the Mississippi continues to be a river that refuses to be tamed. "You cannot tame that lawless stream" - Mark Twain, 1883. 20 November 2002 Nicole Lai 12.4 The Physical and Human Causes of Flooding A Case Study of the 1993 Mississippi Floods - pg 1 / 7 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hydrology & Fluvial Geomorphology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hydrology & Fluvial Geomorphology essays

  1. Hydrology and Fluvial geomorphology. (Q&A)

    Q: Why do rivers meander? Suggested Answer The reasons why rivers start to meander are still uncertain, but meander formation seems to be closely linked to the occurrence of pools and riffles. Pools are fairly deep sections that have an efficient shape (high hydraulic radius)

  2. 'How does the risk of flooding vary along the course of the River Eea?'

    or crops than in more fertile regions like the Southeast of England. There are very few crops grown here, as the soil won't support them. Little vegetation grows here apart from along the river channel. The river channel has been straightened and a wall has been either side of the

  1. Geography investigation - The River Skirfare located in the Littondale region in the Yorkshire ...

    This though, is perhaps the beauty of it, they are very simple methods of data collection, and hence, are very unlikely to go wrong. For example, the stone chart. A stone chart is made consisting of diagrams of stones, all with varying angularity, from very angular to very rounded.

  2. Investigating the river Caerfanell

    This has reflected on the velocity readings as the water was shallower than expected, and therefore the velocity of the water below the riverbed could not have been measured consequently lowering velocity readings of the whole site. [image010.gif] [image012.gif] The general trend of graph is as velocity increases, the gradient of the riverbed decreases.

  1. I am going to study the characteristics of rivers and how they change as ...

    This graph shows the length of the left and right bank to water for each stream order. The measurements for all the stream orders are almost equal. The right side is higher than the left for stream order 2 and the left side is higher than the right for the third and the fourth stream order.

  2. 'To what extent does the River Lyn conform to the Bradshaw model of River ...

    18 The cross sectional area can be worked out by two techniques, it can be worked out by multiplying the width (m) by the average depth (m). Or it can be worked out by drawing a cross sectional area picture drawn to scale.

  1. Geograpgy glendun river

    The gradient is not as high as it would be in the upper course of the river. On the inside of the bend, where the river flow is slower, material is deposited, slow flowing and shallow. This causes deposition to take place and a slip off slope is formed.

  2. Study the river Cray and see whether the river actually follows a natural path ...

    meander causing erosion and slower on the inside of the meander resulting in deposition. This is shown in the diagram below. In the last part of the rivers journey, it flows through a gentle sloping flood plain. A flood plain is an area of flat land found on either side of a river.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work