Answer to River Rat Map Quiz #4
This map is a great example of the tendency of large floodplain rivers like the Mississippi to change their channels over time. The river naturally meanders, creating greater and greater "loops." Eventually, when water levels are high, the powerful currents make a shortcut through the narrow part of the loop and shorten the river channel. The part of the channel that formed the meander, now cut off from the river, becomes an oxbow lake. When the state boundary on the map was drawn, it followed the meandering course of the river channel. But since then the river has changed its channel, and in several places the state boundary now traces meanders that have become oxbow lakes.

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