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Mud map: a sedimental journey.

Over the last 35 years, the amount of mud released by the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico has dropped by more than half, two U.S. Geological Survey hydrologists report in the agency's latest National Water Summary. But the river still discharges more sediment into the ocean than any other U.S. river, and its sediment load is ranked about sixth in the world.

Scientists attribute the decrease to the construction of several large, sediment-trapping dams on the Missouri River during the 1950s and 1960s. The drop in sediments upstream may be responsible for the erosion of shorelines downstream on the Mississippi Delta.

The recent water summary also documents sediment flow in other rivers. For example, the Cowlitz River in southwest Washington, which received 140 million tons of sediment after the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption, now transports 30 million tons per year.
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Title Annotation:sediment released by U.S. rivers
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 21, 1985
Words:145
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