The Mississippi River is one of the most well-known rivers in the United States and even worldwide? But how long is the Mississippi River and why is it significant?
The Mississippi River is fed water by rivers, lakes and streams from 31 states. It is broken into three areas—Upper, Middle and Lower. Upper Mississippi starts in Minnesota. The Middle Mississippi starts in St. Louis where it is joined by the Missouri River. The Lower Mississippi flows through Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, where it drains into the Gulf of Mexico. Experts say that 200-700 cubic feet of water are drained into the Gulf of Mexico every second.
Longest River in the U.S.?
The Mississippi River is considered by many to be the largest river in the United States, but it is not technically the longest. That title goes to the Missouri River, which is 2,341 miles long. The Mississippi River is not too far behind, at 2,320 miles long. Some experts include several streams and smaller rivers that run continuous with the Mississippi, which would make it the 4th largest river system in the world, running for more than 3,700 miles.
Over the last 5,000 years, the river has paved the way for the Mississippi River Delta, which is the stretch of land where the river meats the Gulf of Mexico. Sediment in the river water has built up over the years, increasing the coastline of Louisiana from fifteen to fifty miles. Man-made dams have reduced the flow of sediment, which is slowing the process down. The Delta area is well-known for being a large oil and seafood provider for the U.S. In fact, 16% of all U.S. fish comes from the Mississippi River Delta.
So how long is the Mississippi River?
It’s around 2,320 miles long, but if you add the continuous streams that flow into it, it’s closer to 3,700 miles long.