What Are Some Interesting Facts About the Mississippi River?


Quick Answer

There is some debate over the length of the Mississippi River, with the U.S. Geologic Survey, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and the EPA all placing it at different lengths between 2,300 and 2,552 miles. Regardless, it is the third longest river in North America.

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What Are Some Interesting Facts About the Mississippi River?
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Full Answer

Only the Missouri and the Mackenzie Rivers in Canada are longer than the Mississippi in North America. The Missouri connects to the Mississippi, and when they are taken together as a system along with the Jefferson River, they are the fourth longest river system in the world. Only the Nile, Amazon and Yangtze are longer.

The source of the Mississippi is Lake Itasca, and it is also the river's narrowest point. The widest point is at Lake Winnibigoshish in Minnesota. The river travels all the way through the center of the continental United States, ending at the Gulf of Mexico.

The largest port district in the world is along the Mississipi in Louisiana. About 500 million tons of shipped goods per year are sent through the Mississippi River barge port system.

The Mississippi River and its floodplain are a major pathway for migrating birds and waterfowl. It is also home to at least 260 species of fish and at least 145 species of amphibians and reptiles.

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