Mark Twain

MT’s comments about evolution of meander cutoffs….

“In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year.

Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old … Silurian Period, just a million (?) years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing rod.

And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen.

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

– Life on the Mississippi

P.S. Check out the course changes which have shortened the river in east-central Louisiana since the 18th Century, and note the US Army Corps of Engineers’ attempts to prevent the Atchafalaya on the lower left from draining the channel of the Mississippi upstream of Baton Rouge and New Orleans thus capturing its headwaters and leaving the cities high and dry.