river of North America, with its major tributaries
draining an area of approximately
1,200,000 square miles
or about one-eighth of the
entirecontinent. The Mississippi River lies
entirely in the United States.
Rising in Lake Itasca in Minnesota,
it flows almost due south across
the continental interior,
collecting the waters of its
major tributaries, the Missouri (to the west)
and the Ohio (to the east),
approximately halfway along its journey to
the Gulf of Mexico through
a vast delta southeast of New Orleans, a total
distance of 2,350 miles from
its source. With its tributaries, the Mississippi
drains all or part of 31 U.S.
states and two Canadian provinces.
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