Where is the Mississippi River the second-longest
A: North America, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system.
What is its traditional source?
A: Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota.
It flows generally south for how many miles?
A: 2,340 (3,770 km).
Where does it flow to?
A: The Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico.
With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed
drains all or parts of how many U.S. states?
The Mississippi ranks as the thirteenth-largest river
in the world by what?
The river either borders or passes through what states?
A: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Native Americans have lived along the Mississippi River
and its tributaries for how long?
A: Thousands of years.
Most were hunter-gatherers, but some, such as the Mound
Builders, formed what?
A: Prolific agricultural and urban civilizations.
The arrival of Europeans in the 16th century changed
the native way of life as what?
A: The first explorers, then settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers.
The river served first as a barrier, forming borders
A: New Spain, New France, and the early United States.
Formed from thick layers of the river's silt deposits,
the Mississippi embayment is what?
A: One of the most fertile regions of the United States.
Steamboats were widely used in the 19th and early 20th
centuries to ship what?
A: Agricultural and industrial goods.
During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's
capture by Union forces marked what?
A: A turning point towards victory, due to the river's strategic importance to the Confederate war effort.
Because of the substantial growth of cities and the
larger ships and barges that replaced steamboats, the first decades of the
20th century saw the construction of massive engineering works such as what?
A: Levees, locks and dams, often built in combination.
A major focus of this work has been to prevent the
lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River
and bypassing what?
A: New Orleans.
Since the 20th century, the Mississippi River has also
A: Major pollution and environmental problems.
It has elevated nutrient and chemical levels from
agricultural runoff, the primary contributor to what?
A: The Gulf of Mexico dead zone.
From its origin at Lake Itasca to St. Louis, Missouri,
the waterway's flow is moderated by how many dams?
Fourteen of these dams are located above Minneapolis in
the headwaters region and serve multiple purposes, including what?
A: Power generation and recreation.
The remaining 29 dams, beginning in downtown
Minneapolis, all contain what?
A: Locks and were constructed to improve commercial navigation of the upper river.
Beginning just below Saint Paul, Minnesota, and
continuing throughout the upper and lower river, the Mississippi is further
controlled by what?
A: Thousands of Wing Dikes that moderate the river's flow in order to maintain an open navigation channel and prevent the river from eroding its banks.