Teach'n Down the BIG MUDDY
It is my belief that that man (and women) are programmed to be explorers. From the time we begin to walk, curiosity in the environment ignites the need to explore every inch of your personal space. Humanity's interest in the world around the has been universal and enduring. Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further.
Human exploration helps to address fundamental questions about our place on Earth, and in the Universe. Curiosity and exploration are vital to the human spirit and accepting the challenge of finding answers to life's fundamental questions. In order to survive these trips around the Sun, man must explore.
I have always had an admiration for those who have explored uncharted areas of uncertainty. Perhaps that is the reason I have this intense interest in space flight. Ever since I was a kid of 5 years old, I have followed the space program of the many nations who use large rockets for the purpose of exploration and unlocking mysteries that exist in our universe. Although it is the people I admire, it's the spirit of exploration that drives me to do things that many people would find unnatural.
Half of my ancestry comes from the islands off the coast of Greece and Turkey. The people that live on these small islands had to adapt to a life of travel by boat. Some rowed their vehicles miles away from the safety of their home port get the resources they need to live in the hostile environments of the island mountains.
In the beginning:
Standing on the banks of the Missouri River near Three Forks Montana gives one a false sense of security. The lack of heat energy in the river is conducted and brings a coolness to the area. There is no distinct smell, yet you can see some of the greatest achievements of mother Earth. As a science teacher, I am awestruck by the colors, shapes, sizes of all the details that surround me. I wonder how could this scenery be more different than Florida's, Texas or even Hawaii's.
Three Forks Montana is the starting point for most people who want to travel the Missouri River either by canoe, kayak, raft or paddle board. Standing on the banks of this river. But those who have done their homework to learn about the river know that the true beginning is almost 300 miles from where the Gallatin, Jefferson, and Madison rivers come together.
After many debates and research about the Missouri's origin it is now believed that it starts as a small spring named after Jacob V. Bower who, in 1896 declared the site as the source of the Missouri River. Located in the Centennial Mountains of Montana, Bower Spring is approximately 300 miles from where the river officially starts. Those who visit the spring can try to find a buried copper plate with his name and date. Very few people can clain that they have found the Big Muddy's source. have visied
The spring is named for Jacob V. Brower who in 1896 declared it to be the source of the Missouri in The Missouri: Its Utmost Source. He visited the sitein 1888 and buried a copper plate with his name and date.
The spring is 100 miles (200 km) further than the spot Meriwether Lewis reported in 1805 as the source of the river above Lemhi Pass on Trail Creek. Both sources are near the Continental Divide in Montana. It is 298.3 miles (480.1 km) from where the Missouri River officially starts
Had you of stood here 70 million years ago you might have seen a flat countryside and experienced an earthquake or two. Up until 45 million years ago the mountains surrounding this area of southwest Montana was rising to form what you see today. the majestic moutains they are today. The Rocky Mountains of southwestern Montana at the headwaters of the Missouri River first rose in the Laramide Orogeny, a mountain-building episode that occurred from around 70 to 45 million years ago (the end of the Mesozoic through the early Cenozoic). This orogeny upliftedCretaceous rocks along the western side of the Western Interior Seaway, a vast shallow sea that stretched from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, and deposited the sediments that now underlie much of the drainage basin of the Missouri River. This Laramide uplift caused the sea to retreat and laid the framework for a vast drainage system of rivers flowing from the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, the predecessor of the modern-day Mississippi watershed. The Laramide Orogeny is essential to modern Missouri River hydrology, as snow and ice melt from the Rockies provide the majority of the flow in the Missouri and its tributaries.
The Missouri and many of its tributaries cross the Great Plains, flowing over or cutting into the Ogallala Group and older mid-Cenozoic sedimentary rocks. The lowest major Cenozoic unit, the White River Formation, was deposited between roughly 35 and 29 million years agoand consists of claystone, sandstone, limestone, and conglomerate. Channel sandstones and finer-grained overbank deposits of the fluvial Arikaree Group were deposited between 29 and 19 million years ago. The Miocene-age Ogallala and the slightly younger Pliocene-age Broadwater Formation deposited atop the Arikaree Group, and are formed from material eroded off of the Rocky Mountains during a time of increased generation of topographic relief; these formations stretch from the Rocky Mountains nearly to the Iowa border and give the Great Plains much of their gentle but persistent eastward tilt, and also constitute a major aquifer.
Immediately before the Quaternary Ice Age, the Missouri River was likely split into three segments: an upper portion that drained northwards into Hudson Bay, and middle and lower sections that flowed eastward down the regional slope. As the Earth plunged into the Ice Age, a pre-Illinoian (or possibly the Illinoian) glaciation diverted the Missouri River southeastwards towards its present confluence with the Mississippi and caused it to integrate into a single river system that cuts across the regional slope. In western Montana, the Missouri River is thought to have once flowed north then east around the Bear Paw Mountains. Sapphires are found in some spots along the river in western Montana. Advances of the continental ice sheets diverted the river and its tributaries, causing them to pool up into large temporary lakes such as Glacial Lakes Great Falls, Musselshell and others. As the lakes rose, the water in them often spilled across adjacent local drainage divides, creating now-abandoned channels and coulees including the Shonkin Sag, 100 miles (160 km) long. When the glaciers retreated, the Missouri flowed in a new course along the south side of the Bearpaws, and the lower part of the Milk River tributary took over the original main channel.
The Missouri's nickname, the "Big Muddy", was inspired by its enormous loads of sediment or silt – some of the largest of any North American river. In its pre-development state, the river transported some 175 to 320 million short tons (159 to 290 Mt) per year. The construction of dams and levees has drastically reduced this to 20 to 25 million short tons (18 to 23 Mt) in the present day. Much of this sediment is derived from the river's floodplain, also called the meander belt; every time the river changed course, it would erode tons of soil and rocks from its banks. However, damming and channeling the river has kept it from reaching its natural sediment sources along most of its course. Reservoirs along the Missouri trap roughly 36.4 million short tons (33.0 Mt) of sediment each year. Despite this, the river still transports more than half the total silt that empties into the Gulf of Mexico; the Mississippi River Delta, formed by sediment deposits at the mouth of the Mississippi, constitutes a majority of sediments carried by the Missouri.