Trivia

Hard

The Source Of The Mississippi River Is?

Lake Michigan
Colorado Spring
Lake Itasca
Lake Winnibigosh
The edge of Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park, Minnesota.
Christine Karim/Wikimedia

Answer: Lake Itasca

To say that the Mississippi River is vast would be more than a bit of an understatement. The Mississippi, its name derived from the French rendering of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name Misi-ziibi (“great river”), is the largest drainage system in all of North America. It has primary branches, tributaries, and watersheds that drain all or parts of 32 U.S. states as well as two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains.

All rivers, no matter how vast their reach or how storied their histories, have a headwater somewhere, and the mighty Mississippi is no exception. At an elevation of 1,475 feet (450 meters) in southeastern Clearwater County, located in north-central Minnesota, you’ll find a small and unassuming glacial lake, Lake Itasca, approximately 1.8 square miles (4.7 square kilometers) in area and with an average depth of 20-35 feet (6.1-10.7 meters).

Lake Itasca is the primary source of the Mississippi, and the water here flows out through the entire drainage system of the river. Rainfall that occurs here eventually, over a period of three months, winds its way down the river to the Gulf of Mexico on a lazy but impressive 2,320 mile (3,730 kilometer) journey. Some of that rainfall, through the river’s connections with the Great Lakes, also finds its way to the Atlantic Ocean.

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