• LOCATION 10 | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL

    American Bottom

    We are now passing over Canteen Creek, one of many creeks in this area that was modified to help control flooding. While it may not have been obvious, ever since we entered Illinois, we have been traveling along the bottom of a very very big hole; a hole 80 miles long, 9 miles wide, and 200 to 300 feet deep. We call this giant hole the American Bottom, and it was carved out during the past tens of thousands of years by the incredible force of the waters of the converging Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers, that meet about 25 miles ahead of us and to our left.

    On countless occasions during the past several thousands of years, this entire hole where we are now would fill with water. As recent as 1844, a flood was so extreme here, that steamboats were able to travel from St. Louis to the Eastern Bluffs, which can now be seen ahead of us along the horizon.

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Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL