Mississippi: A natural or man-made resource?


Mississippi: A natural or man-made resource?

Humans have always tried to control nature according to their own will. Our efforts to control the normal course of nature instead of letting it flow in its own rhythm has had and will have dangerous consequences in the future.


The Mississippi river has been tamed like a wild wolf over time. The current and the flow of the river has been controlled by various carefully engineered constructions like dams, levees, and other man-made structures. Samuel Munoz, assistant professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at Northeastern University says that these engineered systems may have increased the hazards of floods.


Munoz and his team have devised a method which could predict the flood by the recent history of Mississippi’s natural rhythm. To collect data, they involved in two techniques. First, they collected the sediments of the lake beside Mississippi of which the water topples in the surrounding banks during the floods. These sediments comprised of ‘coarse and gritty layers’ could trace the intensity of the flood. The second technique was by analysing the tree rings, which when disturbed by flooded water caused roots to become distraught. These observations could reflect on the years the river was flooded.


Studying the centuries of flood data obtained, Munoz blames the various projects on the Mississippi that increase the risk of a 100-year old flood. These man-made changes to the river and the surrounding lands were done to channelise the river and this very process of channelisation has blocked the water flowing through its banks and has forced it through channels.


With this research, one could understand the difference between the conditions before and after people tried to control the floods. Also this perspective answers the question of whether the modern floods are more severe than the natural floods of the past.


Akshara Palshetkar

Akshara Palshetkar
Akshara Palshetkar


"Bachelor's in English Literature and a creative mind at heart"

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