A study of the erosive action of the Red River, the materials carried in solution and in suspension, with a chapter on the state of silica in natural waters
Baker, William Franklin
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The Red River of the North rises in a small lake in Minnesota, 1550 feet above sea level, thirteen miles west of Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi. From here it flows south, passing through Elbow, Many Point, Round, Height of Land, Little Pine, Pine and Rush Lakes to Ottertail Lake. In this distance, sixty miles as the crow flies, the river has descended to 1315 feet above sea level. Locally this stream is called the Ottertail River until its junction with the Bois des Sioux River at Wahpeton, forty-two miles west of Ottertail Lake. The descent of this distance is 372 feet, most rapid in the vicinity of Fergus Falls. The Pelican River, a stream nearly fifty miles long, is the only tributary of note to the Red between Ottertail Lake and Wahpeton. From Wahpeton the Red River flows north 285 miles, measured in a direct line, to Lake Winnipeg; if, however, its meanderings were taken into account the distance would be about 700 miles. Above its junction with the Bois des Sioux, because of its numerous lakes, the volume of the river is not greatly affected by heavy rains or snow. North of Wahpeton, however, the range between low and high water increases thirty-two feet at Fargo, fifty feet at Belmont, nearly forty feet from Grand Forks to Winnipeg, Lower Fort Garry thirty-five feet, and beyond that point it rapidly diminishes in approaching Lake Winnipeg. On the east side of the Red River, the important tributaries, from south to north, are the Buffalo, Wild Rice, Marsh, Sand Hill, Red Lake, Snake, Tamarack, Two Rivers, Joe, Roseau, and Rat Rivers; and on the west the Bois des Sioux, Wild Rice, Sheyenne, Elm, Goose, Turtle, Forest, Park, Pembina, Marsiis, Boyne, La Salle and Assiniboine Rivers... Referring to the geological character of the areas drained by the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, Dr. G.M. Dawson says: "The Red River, flowing from south to north, runs probably for its whole length over deposits of late date. These are, either the fine silty material laid down in the bed of the southward extension of Lake Winnipeg, which previously occupied the valley, or clays and sandy clays due to the glacial period. Long and important streams, however, join the Red River, both from the east and the west, and the character of the river water is doubtless due to the nature of the country occupied by the springs and the sources of these, rather than to the composition of the bed of the...