The Geography of the State of Mississippi

The state of Mississippi covers an area of 125,000 square kilometres and is the 32nd largest State in USA. The area is dominated by low lying areas that has been produced by the floodplains of various rivers. The rivers in the area include the Mississippi, the Big Black River, the Pearl River, the Yazoo River, the Pascagoula River and the Tombigbee River. These rivers come together to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. Some are tributaries of the Mississippi while others, such as the Pearl flow in separately.

The not very high Woodhall Mountain

The effect has been to produce a huge delta and the State’s topography is flat. The highest point being found at Woodhall Mountain 246 metres above sea level. The North-West of the state is dominated by the Mississippi Delta which is 200 miles long and 87 miles wide. The areas cover 7,000 square miles and was once covered with hardwood forests. During the 19th century much of this forest was removed by cotton fields. This area is separate to the Mississippi River Delta area which lies 300 kilometres away actually on the coast.

The coastline of the state includes the St Louis Bay, Biloxi Bay and Pascagoula Bay. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the Mississippi Sound which runs for about 145 kilometres along the coastline. This shallow sea contains a number of barriers Islands lying just off the coast. The average depth is around 6 metres and channels need to be dredged for boats to travel in from the ports into the area. The area to the east of the Mississippi Delta is the East Gulf Coastal Plain. This an area of low undulating hills with the Pine Hills being located in the south and the North Central Hills. More distinct higher land is found in the north-east with the Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills.

Swamp land in Mississippi

The climate of the state can be described as a humid subtropical climate. There are long summers with short mild winters. Most of the rainfall occurs in the interior while the real humidity is experienced on the coast. The region experiences hurricanes in the summer months moving in from the Gulf of Mexico. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina killed 238 people in the state and the associated storm surge caused much damage inland. Tornados also occur in the region and some of the most severe in the States occur in this area.

The low lying and flat topography of the land, coupled with periods of intensive rainfall has proved ideal for the location of swamp lands, and the region has many examples of them. The Cypress Swamps contain some trees that date back 1000’s of years. The roots of the Cypress trees are unique in that produce roots that produce roots that emerge from the surface of the water.

The Cypress swamps are located extensively around the State with many of them now under the protection of the National Parks. Mississippi is a state that does not offer an abundance of scenic wilderness that is dominated by mountainous areas. The state has its own unique landscapes that are rarely found in other parts of the United States. The unusual geography of the land gives it a special feel and it is due to this that the region is becoming a popular destination for tourists.