An Inspiring Long Journey of Mississippi River Water

Feature Image - Mississippi river water

Nature has provided numerous valuable accessories which make us proud. The word Mississippi is enough, as suggested by the term ‘the great river.’ As is familiar by the name, the longest river of the United States, Mississippi, covers the geographic range of the United States. 

It has a great history and stories that are of everyone’s interest. One may have curiosity about how long the water will take to reach the Mississippi river entirely. 

Due to its unique characteristics, this river has been popular daily, making others interested in learning about its historical aspects, mechanism, and processes in nature so far.

The exciting part of this river is that it significantly contributes to American history when associated with trade and transportation.

Being the most extensive water highway, it has played a crucial role in commercial development, providing various services and employment to millions and pure and fresh drinking water

The indigenous and the privileged communities who depend on this river consider this river as their major lifeline.  

Since it is inferred as the second-longest river in North America, it is categorized into three major divisions: upper Mississippi, middle Mississippi, and the lower Mississippi. 

The primary source of the Mississippi river is lake Itasca situated in the northern part of Minnesota. Throughout the globe, the Mississippi river is inferred as the fourth longest river.

In regards to biodiversity, it harbors multiple species, including fish, birds, mammals, and reptiles. This abundance indicates how rich and lush the Mississippi river is in terms of biological productivity.

Time interval of the water in reaching Mississippi river

Sunset - Mississippi River water
Sunset view of Mississippi River (source)

Numerous research findings have depicted that this river flows 2340 miles from the initiating point to the end. But the length of the Mississippi river varies according to the several research findings and the studies being carried out targeting the Mississippi river. 

This river takes around 90 days for the water drop to travel the whole length of the Mississippi River, considering the various points of the route. As fed the Mississippi river by the lake Itasca, the lake does possess flow rates at six cubic feet per second. 

In general, the time duration of the water drop to reach the Mississippi River from its original point (the lake Itasca) to the Gulf of Mexico is three months. The important reason behind this fascinating natural phenomenon is that the Mississippi River is the longest in North America.

Factors creating influence upon the time frame of the Mississippi river distance traveling

Multitudinal factors have been identified so far from several studies. The critical factors which do make influence the time frame of the Mississippi river distance traveling are enlisted below:

Water speed in various water sections

The average water speed of the river is believed to be 1.2 miles per hour, basically in the spring season. And in regards to New Orleans, the water speed is detected as 3 miles per hour. 

The critical thing one might think of is why the river water speed varies and differentiates in time. Indeed, it does have a wise justification. When their torrential rainfall occurs in the rainy season and the rainfall-induced floods, water may accelerate. 

It can create differences in the water speed since water washes away all the materials during the flood, thereby creating massive destruction of property and human lives.

The research also reveals that once the Mississippi River meets the Ohio and Missouri river, it does increase its speed of flowing by three times rather than the original river flow. From this, one can critically understand how natural phenomena alter according to the time interval.

Narrowing and widening of the Mississippi river

Boat in the river - Mississippi river water
A red boat on board section of Mississippi River (source)

Several causes may occupy a place in the case of narrowing and widening of the Mississippi River. The river narrows and widens when severe impacts are induced by the haphazard movement of the gravel bed, which causes the river channels to divert their way. 

Once the Mississippi river widens, the river gets eroded, thereby causing headward erosion.

Alteration of the river volume

It’s inevitable that once the volume of the Mississippi river increases due to the sudden natural mechanism and the processes being occupied, it will take a longer time for the water drop to travel and cover the entire river. 

Several drastic changes can be visualized once the river gets altered channels and is far from its original tracks. Until and unless the river volume becomes lesser, the time travel of the water drops in this river increases accordingly. 

These are the critical reasons why the water droplets occupy a more prominent time traveling the entire Mississippi River.

Things needed to be considered while visiting the Mississippi river

Mississippi River at night - Mississippi river water
Memphis Bridge at night (source)

As aforementioned, it’s the longest river in the United States; a precaution is always foremost when it comes to the name of human safety. Many set up is a must before visiting the Mississippi River. 

For instance, the locks and dams infrastructure developed to maintain this river’s navigation channel can be a severe hazard to the small crafts. Inexperienced canoers can be very harmful since they have no information regarding the risky possibilities while traveling in the river.

Basically, in the opening of the Gulf of Mexico and the lake Itasca, the high-speed water could be very hazardous as the rapid water current in the river could seriously wash away the sharp objects in the canoe and may direct to the visitors. 

From the biological productivity point of view, large mammals and reptiles reside in the Mississippi River. When the human encounters the bulk sharks, bears, and alligators, visitors may be in a dilemma on what to do, they may lose their life within a second. 

Since the human-wildlife conflict has become a grave and dire issue in recent days, either that meant to be in terms of the water bodies or the national park areas. 

The other critical wildlife threat posed to human lives is the widespread presence of the tiny mosquito in the Mississippi River, which may carry the West Nile virus and lead to pandemic devastation throughout the globe once spread around.

Mississippi river supportive research findings

In a recent study of 2021, it is insisted that the water level of the Mississippi River has been gradually lowering. The climatic researchers, hydrologists, meteorologists, and scientists worldwide have revealed that this may be the critical effect of climate change in the river. 

The water levels appear to be very low, especially in the northern part of Minnesota. Once the river gets narrowed to wider, there can be severe impacts on the transportation facilities. 

Since the natural river mechanism is rise and fall, it does alter from time to time. Due to the dry summer, there have been significant alterations in the precipitation trends and patterns.

Aside from climate change, swings in the precipitation level and the temperature have seriously impacted the water levels. Thus, it has induced such consequences. 

Numerous scientific experiments, modeling of the climate change impacts have projected the future scenario that in the upcoming future it is more likely to cause the dry state targeting the region of Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

It is further revealed by the scientists that the torrential rainfall will shift from the north towards Canada. As stressed by the climate researchers, the climate is more about getting space like the southern United States once the temperature change-induced effects are visualized so far.


Being the Mississippi river as the pride throughout the globe, it does bear colossal importance in the natural river resource. As considered the fourth-longest river globally, it does take a long time for the water droplets to travel the entire Mississippi River as aforementioned. 

However, the drastic alteration in the river due to climate change has been projected from several future climatic projections and the models being approached so far. 

In this regard, one might be thinking about how it will affect the natural processes, mechanisms, and phenomena of the Mississippi River in the future.

It’s solely upon us to think about the dire issue of this river and track out the best solution to conserve and protect our pride so that we can get success in preserving our dignity and halt the effects resulting from climate change in this river. 

But the critical aspect that the river expects from us for its conservation is effective coordination and hand-to-hand conservation efforts initiating from the local level to reaching the global level throughout the world.