The Ohio River is a 981 miles long river that is found within the region of Laurentia in the US. It is one of the tributaries of the Mississippi River which is popular for being the river’s largest tributary by volume. The word “Ohio” originated from the Seneca language of the Seneca people. It means “Good River.” Tributaries of the Ohio River include Kentucky River, Cumberland River, Muskingum River, Wabash River, Great Miami River, and Tennessee River. The river flows through some popular US cities namely Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Evansville, Cincinnati, Paducah, Pittsburgh, and Indiana. River Ohio begins in Pittsburgh whereas its headwaters are in Pennsylvania. The widest parts of the river are situated around Louisville where it is one mile wide.
The Beginning and End Of The Ohio River
The two sources of the Ohio River are Allegheny River and Monongahela River which are located in Pennsylvania and West Virginia respectively. The Allegheny River is at an elevation of 2,240 feet. On the other hand, the Monongahela River sits at an elevation of 880 feet. These two rivers converge at Point State Park in Pittsburgh which is situated in Pennsylvania resulting in the formation of the Ohio River. From this point, the river flows southwest until it reaches the area where it joins up with the Mississippi River.
The waters of the Ohio River drain into the Mississippi River atCairo City in Illinois. Usually, the river is shallow. However, several years ago dams and locks were built on the Ohio River to speed it up. As a result, it is currently approximately 24 feet deep. The deepest part of the river, which is 168 feet is found west of Louisville in Kentucky. On the other hand, the lowest elevation of the river is 315 feet and is found at the point where it joins the Mississippi.
Significance Of The Ohio River
First, the Ohio River is the source of drinking water for approximately 3 million people. It also supports marine life of about 160 species of fish. Secondly, the river defines the borders of several states namely Ohio and West Virginia, Illinois and Kentucky, Indiana and Kentucky, as well as Ohio and Kentucky. Thirdly, the Ohio River basin which is about 204,000 square miles is home to close to 25 million people which translates to 8% of the total population of the US. Finally, another importance of the Ohio River is its transport activities which were made possible by the building of the dams and locks on the river. Every year, more than 184 million tons of cargo (most of which is coal) is transported through the river. The dams have also assisted in flood control.