Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain




















































































































































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It is a remarkable river in this:  that instead of widening toward its
mouth, it grows narrower; grows narrower and - Page 3
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It Is A Remarkable River In This:

That instead of widening toward its mouth, it grows narrower; grows narrower and deeper.

From the junction of the Ohio to a point half way down to the sea, the width averages a mile in high water: thence to the sea the width steadily diminishes, until, at the 'Passes,' above the mouth, it is but little over half a mile. At the junction of the Ohio the Mississippi's depth is eighty- seven feet; the depth increases gradually, reaching one hundred and twenty-nine just above the mouth.

The difference in rise and fall is also remarkable - not in the upper, but in the lower river. The rise is tolerably uniform down to Natchez (three hundred and sixty miles above the mouth) - about fifty feet. But at Bayou La Fourche the river rises only twenty-four feet; at New Orleans only fifteen, and just above the mouth only two and one half.

An article in the New Orleans 'Times-Democrat,' based upon reports of able engineers, states that the river annually empties four hundred and six million tons of mud into the Gulf of Mexico - which brings to mind Captain Marryat's rude name for the Mississippi - 'the Great Sewer.' This mud, solidified, would make a mass a mile square and two hundred and forty-one feet high.

The mud deposit gradually extends the land - but only gradually; it has extended it not quite a third of a mile in the two hundred years which have elapsed since the river took its place in history.

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